TITLE: Yellow Wife by Sadeqa Johnson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Release Date: January 12th, 2021 by Simon Schuster
Format: audiobook & kindle edition (9 hrs and 31 mins; 287 pages)
Genre: Historical Fiction
Narrator: Robin Miles
Blurb: This harrowing story follows an enslaved woman forced to barter love and freedom while living in the most infamous slave jail in Virginia.
Born on a plantation in Charles City, Virginia, Pheby Brown was promised her freedom on her eighteenth birthday. But when her birthday finally comes around, instead of the idyllic life she was hoping for with her true love, she finds herself thrust into the bowels of slavery at the infamous Devil’s Half-Acre, a jail where slaves are broken, tortured, and sold every day. Forced to become the mistress of the brutal man who owns the jail, Pheby faces the ultimate sacrifice to protect her heart in this powerful, thrilling story of one slave’s fight for freedom.
Wow. I would really love to read more Mary Lumpkin, the actual woman that book heroine Pheby Brown was based on. What horror it must have been to be a slave and also kind of mistress of the Lumpkin jail.
Pheby was a biracial slave whose slave owner father promised to free her, but he died and his wife sold Pheby to sent to a whorehouse that specialized in mulatto girls. However at the auction, Rubin Lapier who runs the local jail for runaway slaves saw her and purchased her. Thus continued Pheby’s life as kind of a slave but kind of more. The mental stress is must have taken to straddle the line as to not piss off Rubin and help him sell off other slaves to be used as whores. It was definitely a tough position to be in as the jail owner was one of the most brutal men I’ve read in stories. I am disgusted at how people can be so cruel and inhumane. I was a bit terrorized reading it and continue to cry inside at the sheer evil of slavery.
This book will stay with me for a long time. What a compelling story AND to think it’s based on a real person. I will plan a trip there with my family.