The Wedding Gift by Marlen Suyapa Bodden

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Plodding prose, leaden dialogue and a gratuitous trick ending undermine what is otherwise a fraught and entertaining story enhanced with convincing period detail.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

In 1852, when prestigious Alabama 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. Sarah equally hides behind the façade 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 into a tale beyond what you ever imagined possible. Told through the alternating viewpoints of Sarah and Theodora Allen, Cornelius' wife, Marlen Suyapa Bodden's The Wedding Gift is an intimate portrait of slavery and the 19th Century South that will leave readers breathless.
 

About Marlen Suyapa Bodden

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MARLEN SUYAPA BODDEN is a lawyer at The Legal Aid Society in New York City, the nation’s oldest and largest law firm for the poor. She drew on her knowledge of modern and historical slavery, human trafficking, and human rights abuses to write The Wedding Gift, her first novel. Marlen is a graduate of New York University School of Law and Tufts University. In 2012, the University of Rhode Island awarded Marlen an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.
 
Published September 24, 2013 by St. Martin's Press. 318 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Wedding Gift
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Below average
Reviewed by Kirkus on Sep 10 2013

Plodding prose, leaden dialogue and a gratuitous trick ending undermine what is otherwise a fraught and entertaining story enhanced with convincing period detail.

Read Full Review of The Wedding Gift | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Aug 19 2013

Bodden weaves a page-turning tangled web of misogyny, greed, scandal and violence in this powerful story about races colliding against the backdrop of America's darkest era.

Read Full Review of The Wedding Gift | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Reader Rating for The Wedding Gift
85%

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