Praise for The Wedding Gift

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"Stunning debut: 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." --Publishers Weekly (starred review & Best New Books of the Week)

"If I were you, I wouldn't make any plans for the rest of the day. You have in your hands a story of the tangled motives and self-destructive passions when whites and blacks became this close during the time of slavery-all told at a pell mell pace." --Tom Wolfe

"...Sure to become 2013's sleeper hit ... This isn't another sordid, tragic mulatto tale. The horrors of whips and chains are present, but the beauty of this novel is the way it expands the typical slave narrative by adding gripping innuendo, mystery, surprise, shrewd insight and murder centered on people - White, Black, male and female - who will fight to the death to escape their circumstances." --Ebony

"Bodden wraps some of the most complex issues facing the world today, slavery, racism, misogyny, and violence in an unflinching tall tale about an American family that is black and white. This compelling and fierce historical novel, where the slave master gives his white daughter his black daughter as a wedding gift, is set in the big house of a wealthy plantation before the Civil War and is based on a court case from the 1840s in Talladega, Alabama." --Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

"The WEDDING GIFT is powerful and absorbing. Ms. Bodden's story-telling skills are on fine display in this intricately-plotted novel as she unflinchingly transports the reader to the most tragic, brutal time in the country's past. The characters are exceptionally well-rendered; the sense of who they are lingers beyond the last page. The author astutely captures the complexities of the relationships--especially between the enslaved black women and the oppressed white women. Also masterfully captured here is the boundless quest to live fully free." --Diane McKinney-Whetstone, (author of Tumbling)

"Fascinating, intriguing-a great story!" --Kathleen Grissom, (New York Times bestselling author of The Kitchen House)

"The strength of the novel is its slave narrative tone and its ability to demonstrate the pain of being owned by another human being. Many have heard of slavery; few know this story. It's too important to overlook." --Daniel Black, author of Twelve Gates to the City

"As educational as it is compelling: Bodden writes with delicacy, allowing layers of meaning to unfold slowly, and her portrayal of the horrors of slave life is both unflinching and purposeful. The connections developed between Clarissa and Sarah illustrate the complex sorrows of tyranny, and the ecstasy of triumphing over oppression. An inspiring read for historical-fiction fans, especially those who like strong female narrators." --Booklist

"A potent debut inspired by an 1840 court case" --Good Housekeeping

"The Wedding Gift is based on a true story and a very highly recommended read..." --Cowper's Bookshelf (Read more ...)

"This historical novel, based upon a court case in nineteenth-century Alabama, invites readers inside the plantation, the wealth, the family, the relationships..." --Dawn Goldsmith (Read more ...)

"The Wedding Gift is a powerful tale of bondage, slavery, cruelty and ultimately freedom. Ms. Bodden's storytelling abilities are effectively illustrated, as she transports her readers to an early 19th Century Alabama cotton plantation where slavery was considered to be the norm. Interwoven into her tale is the abolitionist movement that was in direct opposition to the preservation of slavery." --Lily Azerad-Goldman (Read more ...)

"In this historical novel, I discovered that the worlds of the wealthy plantation families and their impoverished slaves could collide and intersect to weave a complex and interdependent tapestry. Having been schooled in another country with just one year of American History studies, I had thought that interaction between plantation owners and their slaves was limited. This novel, based on a real court case, opened my eyes." --Lee Leffler (Read more ...)

"Marlen Suyapa Bodden's new book THE WEDDING GIFT is the story of complex relationships among enslaved people and the people who hold them in bondage during the decade before the Civil War." --Meredith Sue Willis (Read more ...)