This is the story of four women, all slaves and mistresses of their masters, who travel to a resort spa on vacation. Tawawa House is an idyllic resort situated on the Ohio River, an oasis away from the heat and humidity of southern plantations, and the watchful eyes of their wives. The planters are regulars who come here each summer with their black enslaved mistresses, Lizzie, Sweet and Reenie who have become friends over the years. The women have never thought twice about coming here to free territory before the civil war, but when they meet, Mawu, an outspoken mistress at the resort for the first time, things begin to change. For the first time, being in free territory means that they could possibly have a chance at their own freedom, but it would mean leaving behind their families and the only lives they know. When a fire sets off a string of events, the women have to decide what freedom truly means to them.
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Best part of story, including ending:
I really liked this story because we got an inside view of the mistress' perspective. In many other novels we've only seen these women as victims but this book explores the complexities of this kind of relationship where power was mutual in a lot of ways.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene is when the women all dress up in their elegant gowns and have a "date night" with their masters. It is very interesting to see them seated at the table, all dressed up formally to dinner. I kept thinking that this was so ballsy of the men to bring these women here. I could only imagine how their wives would react to seeing them.
Opinion about the main character:
I really liked that the women were all in similar positions but were so fundamentally different in terms of their characteristics and life story. They were all different kinds of mistresses.