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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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  • One of the best books I have ever read

    The Yellow Wife is one of the most well-written books I have ever read. Sadeqa Johnson has written such a beautiful, heartbreaking story that despite being horrified by all the abuses that slaves endured, I could not put the book down. The story is about the life of a girl named Pheby Delores Brown, who was raised on a plantation in Charles City, Virginia. Her mother was a slave and her father was the white plantation owner, who promised Pheby her freedom when she turned 18. When things went wrong, she was sold into slavery and ended up being kept as a mistress by the bullying owner of a jail called Hell's Half Acre, where slaves were tortured into submission and sold. She is forced to make many heartbreaking choices between her true love, her children, the other slaves working in the jail, and those being tortured and sold, and yet the words flow off the pages so gently that still this is a beautiful story. It is fictional but based closely on real people, places and events, which I loved reading about in the author's note at the end of the book. Sadeqa Johnson was drawn to write this story after walking along the Richmond Slave Trail and visiting the original site of Lumpkin’s jail in Richmond Virginia and learning about Mary Lumpkin, who was the real life jailer's 'yellow wife'. After reading this book I would really like to visit these landmarks as well and learn more about all that has happened here. Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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  • Hated this book to end

    The Yellow Wife is historical fiction at its best. It is so many things: a heart breaking, heart wrenching story and yet it is a tale of courage, survivorship and so much more. Pheby Delores Brown has a foot in two worlds and belongs in neither. She is sold as a slave and is taken in as the mistress to a jail that houses slaves. He is a despicable man but he is the father of her children and she will do anything to protect them. Its a gripping story that makes you shudder, cheer and cry with Pheby. Please take time to read the author's notes at the end of the book which add even more to this sad but heart warming story. Sadly it is our history.

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  • We Are Never Slaves in Our Minds

    Wow! This is a powerful story. I read on this book almost all day, couldn't put it down. It is difficult to understand how people can go through so much cruelty and still go on with life. How Some people could be so cruel and think it was okay to do so. It was a different time in history, and thought processes were very different. Although there were cruel people there were also compassionate people. Had that not been so there would have never been a civil war to abolish slavery. Not all white people were cruel slave owners and not all black people were slaves. It was a sad story of the lives of Pheby , probably sadder than the other slaves. She was half black and half white and didn't feel like she totally belonged. She was taught to read and write and play the piano. Because of this when the mistress sent her away to be sold and she ended up in the Devil's Acre she was not prepared for what she found there. She was still treated better than most and tried to help those less fortunate with danger and consequences to her own safety. It was interesting to read the ending, different that what I expected . In history we often hear about the cruelty of slavery in the physical sense with beatings and floggings. From reading this story there were so much heartache in the mental cruelty with punishment to those that disobeyed by selling family members. I enjoyed reading about some of the fashions of the day and how the plantations were set up with the main house, the laundry house, the kitchen house and the slave quarters all separate. That the slaves that worked in the big house were considered uppity by the other slaves. How they all came together at a funeral and at church. I enjoyed reading about his era in history. I would recommend this book. Thanks to Sadequa Johnson, Simon and Schuster, and NetGalley for allowing me to read a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Compelling!

    This book follows the life of Pheby, born into slavery in Virginia. It has kept me up at night thinking about it. The writing is very graphic and descriptive. Even though most people are aware that most slaves were mistreated, reading about it when it is so explicitly described brings it alive. A few times I had to stop reading to sit back and process what I had just read. Pheby is an exceptional character. Her mother instilled in her a sense of worth and a set of principles that helped her keep her dignity for a very long time. After she had a child, she was compelled to forsake some of her principles for the sake of her child. She made a deal with the Devil. She was forced to witness beatings. I still shudder to think of these beatings. Officially they were meant as punishment but more as a show of power. I still have a very hard time understanding how it was possible that slaves were considered as chattel, as a possession. How is it possible that it was acceptable for one human being to own another? The further I got in the book, the faster I wanted to read, hoping to get to a happy ending. It was a very difficult book to read and to process. There are notes from the author at the end......these notes explain how her book was based on fact and real people. The notes detailed how she came across the story and all the research she did to create characters with real personalities, good and bad. I wish to extend a huge thank you to Sadeqa Johnson for the extensive research and work she put into The Yellow Wife.

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  • Great read!

    I love to read historical fiction! This was a great read! I enjoyed following Pheby’s story, from the plantation to the slave jail. I found myself putting my book down every so often so that I could research some of the names and places that were sprinkled throughout the book. My heart broke a little every time things did not go right for Pheby, and there were so many sacrifices she had to make, however, she kept on! What a great story of perseverance! Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for the opportunity to read and review this book!

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