It’s so very hard to think that people in our past sold other people into slavery. Slavery ranks up there as a heinous awful crime against humanity and in the story of Yellow Wife, we do once again come to see, relive, and understand what happened those years ago to so many.
Pheby Delores Brown, a young mulatto girl is beautiful and she has been promised her freedom which she longs for. However, fate intervenes, as Pheby’s mother and her plantation wealthy father, Master Jacob, take a path that leads to heartbreak and tragedy. after Jacob’s sister’s death, Jacob, takes on a new bride, a vicious woman who hates people of color and takes out her revenge on Pheby, for having been educated and taught the piano by Master Jacob’s sister, Miss Sally. It burns within her that Pheby is Jacob’s daughter and she plots at every turn to make Pheby’s life miserable and painful.
As her hatred for Pheby escalates, Pheby becomes more and more attracted to Essex Henry, a stable hand, who wins Pheby’s heart. Tragedy arrives when Pheby is sent to Lapier Jail located in Richmond, Virginia. There, the cruel master, of the jail, Lapier, is attracted to Pheby and instead of seeing her sold buys her. Unbeknownst to Pheby or Lapier, Pheby is pregnant by Essex who had escaped up North swearing he would come back to her. Pheby gives birth to a boy who she names Monroe. After Monroe’s birth, Pheby’s new quarters are in the home of Lapier. She is now his yellow wife and there becomes a slave to his whims and sexual desires. She acquiesces to all he wants for Lapier swears he will never separate her from Monroe.
Over the years, Pheby gives birth to five children, but there is always the fear of Lapier and his disdain for Monroe. Lapier keeps them apart and uses Monroe as a bargaining chip with the thought of selling him circling always. Pheby is a noble character, always putting the needs of her children before those of herself, always remembering the love she shared with Essex, so when Essex comes once again into her life, she makes the ultimate sacrifice.
This was a most entertaining and well researched story as the character of Pheby is based on a woman named Mary Lumpkin. The setting is reflective of the Lumpkin Jail in Richmond. This most riveting story exposed once again the hideous way in which slaves were treated. The scenes that were seen and heard at the jail were awful and exposed such cruelty that it broke my heart. It was gruesome and yet this story needs to be told and remembered for once in our country people were sold, people were chained, and people were treated like dogs at the hands of cruel and inhuman masters.
A definite recommendation for this wonderful historical fiction.
and here’s the author
Sadeqa Johnson, a former public relations manager, spent several years working with well-known authors such as JK Rowling, Bebe Moore Campbell, Amy Tan and Bishop TD Jakes before becoming an author herself. Her debut novel, Love in a Carry-on Bag, is the recipient of the 2013 Phillis Wheatley award for best fiction, OOSA best book award, and USA best book award for African-American fiction. Second House From the Corner, was hailed by Essence magazine and a Go on Girl! Bookclub selection for 2017. And Then There Was Me, won the National Book Club Conference fiction book of the year award, and was a finalist for the Phillis Wheatley award. She has also received the Black Pearl Magazine Author of the Year award for 2017.
Johnson is a Kimbilo Fellow, former board member of the James River Writers, and proud member of the Tall Poppy Writers. She also teaches fiction writing for the MFA program at Drexel University. Originally from Philadelphia, she currently lives near Richmond, Virginia with her amazingly supportive husband of 18 years, and their three beautiful children.