The Yellow Wife

**I received a free copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**

The happy house slave is a trope as enduring as segregation. It is featured most prominently in novels dating back to Reconstruction but can push its way into modern art also. One need look no further than Django Unchained for evidence of this sad truth. Even celebrated civil rights activists like Malcolm X trafficked in the trope which makes it all the more notable that author Sadeqa Johnson chose a different tack with The Yellow Wife.

Like Gone With the Wind, The Yellow Wife is told through the perspective of a young woman living in the South of the 1800s. But whereas Gone With the Wind sanitized and glamourized the racial caste of 19th century America, The Yellow Wife confronts the horrors of slavery head-on. Sexual violence, infanticide, and family separation all play an important role in the book. No person who reads the Yellow Wife will come away with the impression that any enslaved person had it easy in the Antebellum South, whether they worked in the field or the big house.

The Yellow Wife is in many respects too short, the story covers numerous decades once you include the epilogue and some of the key narrative events receive only passing mention, but it is a compelling read all the same. Johnson put an admirable amount of research into the book and her passion for the subject shines through in her writing. The Yellow Wife is not an easy read but it is an important work of literature and deserves a wide readership.

One thought on “The Yellow Wife

  1. I’m glad to see this trend of more fact-based historical fiction giving us a more realistic look into our past. Perhaps this will help us make amends and finally achieve a more equitable society.

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