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The Wedding Gift by Marlen Suyapa Bodden

The Wedding Gift

by Marlen Suyapa Bodden

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Excellent story of early Alabama during slavery in the US; a good history lesson as well as a gripping story of the Allen Family Cotton Plantation and the slaves who were owned by this family and their quest for freedom. Overall I loved the book - the journey of Sarah's life both heart wrenching and encouraging. The ending however, was somehow thrown in your face that it actually changed my opinion of the main characters and left me feeling that it wasn't true to the rest of the story. I don't know if this was suppose to be a true story or not - only - the ending epilogue left me feeling that either the main description of the characters was misleading throughout the book or the ending was contrived and thrown in for shock value. ( )
  booklovers2 | Jul 15, 2015 |
This novel takes place in the antebellum south. It is told through the eyes of 3 individuals: Sarah, mulatto child of Master Allen and Emmaline, the kitchen slave, Theodora, the master's wife, and Clarissa, Master Allen and Theodora's daughter. It is your typical slavery fair...human beings beat, bought and sold. This book is pretty predictable, except for the last 2 pages, which contains 2 zingers. Actually, most of the book is not about The Wedding Gift! 3 stars, reviewed. ( )
  tess_schoolmarm | Aug 11, 2014 |
THE WEDDING GIFT, a historical fiction, is a wonderfully crafted retelling of the dark side of our U.S. history – a time when people owned other human beings and often abused them worse than they mistreated animals. The story has been told before by many other authors, but never before THE WEDDING GIFT has anyone captured so vividly the despair the slaves, who had no control over their lives, must have felt. Ms. Bodden researched her topic well and told a compelling tale of Sarah Campbell, the slave daughter of a wealthy plantation owner in the Deep South before the Civil War. Sarah was willing to risk a beating or even death for freedom. Beatings were often so severe as to cause death.
This book was a real page-turner. I honestly could not put it down. THE WEDDING GIFT, the debut novel by Marlen Suyapa Bodden, is without a doubt one of the best books I have read. I highly recommend this book to everyone.
To learn more about THE WEDDING GIFT check our Marlen Suyapa Bodden’s website at http://marlenbodden.com/.
I received this book in a giveaway hosted by Julie Valerie’s Book Blog at www.julievalerie.com. ( )
  Macjam47 | Feb 21, 2014 |
On an 1850's Alabama plantation known as Allen Estate, Sarah is the enslaved daughter of the master of the plantation. Trained to be a ladies maid, she waits upon her white half-sister Clarissa. Sarah's life bounces from being sometimes idyllic, sometimes horrific. She dreams of freedom, aided by Theadora, Clarissa's mother who is the mistress of the plantation. Theadora illegally teaches Sarah to read and write, along side her daughter Clarissa. As the young girls mature Clarissa commits an act that forever changes the lives of everyone on the plantation, especially Sarah. ( )
  queencersei | Dec 25, 2013 |
The Wedding Gift , by Marlen Suyapa Bodden narrated by, Jenna Lamia & January LaVoy

This was a great story. If you enjoyed The Kitchen House I think you will enjoy this one! Set in the time of slavery the story is told by slave Sarah and slave owner Theodora.

This was a fascinating story and made me realize something awful, so many slave owners had children with their slaves but never considered them their children, just their property to buy and sell and abuse at a whim. I just can’t understand how these men could treat their own flesh & blood this way that it is very disturbing.

There were times I thought for sure Sarah would see some very tough times because she seemed to talk about running away a lot and in front of people she shouldn’t trust. Her mother was an amazing woman who took care of her children the best way she knew how and did things she had to do to keep her children safe and close, I think the realization of that really hit her daughters when certain things happened to Belle, when Emmeline decided to try to stand up for herself and learned a hard lesson.

Then we have Theodora who came from a family that called its slaves servants and treated them much better than the family she married into, the Allen family is a much tougher bunch with not only its slaves but its women too. Theodora’s marriage isn’t a happy one no matter how hard she tries, add to that the fact that her husband is having relations with one of the house slaves, Emmeline and has fathered a child with her. But Theodora is an amazing woman and rises above the abuses her husband doles on her and everyone else and her and Emmeline actually become very close. Their daughters Clarissa and Sarah grow up together never realizing (till later) that they are sisters but these two girls grow up best friends spending all their time together including doing schoolwork, even though it is illegal for slaves to learn to read and write Theodora sees nothing wrong with this, but will she eventually pay the price for teaching Sarah to read & write?

Thoughts on the audio production, I am already a huge fan of Jenna Lamia but this was my first time hearing January LaVoy and I must say I was very impressed and will be finding more books narrated by her. The narration of this book was so perfect both narrators bring these two women to life with such ease, I was very impressed with the narration and it ranks up in the top 10 of the year.(2013)

If you haven’t guessed I truly loved this book, I thought it was a very well written story, and I enjoyed seeing things from both perspectives.

I highly recommend this book especially on audio!

5 Stars ( )
  susiesharp | Dec 10, 2013 |
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This chronicle commences with the monarchs of my heart: my mother, the one who gave me light, and my sister to whom I clung in dire times.
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"When prestigious plantation owner Cornelius Allen gives his daughter Clarissa's hand in marriage, she takes with her a gift: Sarah, her slave and her half-sister. Raised by an educated mother, Clarissa is not the proper Southern belle she appears to be--with ambitions of loving whom she chooses--and Sarah equally hides behind the facade of being a docile house slave as she plots to escape. Both women bring these tumultuous secrets and desires with them to their new home, igniting events that spiral [out of control]"--Amazon.com.… (more)

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