Tour Stop: Review/Book Look for "Wench" by Maxine Kaplan
WENCH, by Maxine Kaplan
Imprint: Amulet Books
Publication Date: January 19, 2021
Page Count: 384 pages
*I received an e-arc from Netgalley free of charge, and my opinions are completely my own.*
Tanya was the cook, the brewer, the distiller, the laundress, the housekeeper, the waitress, the hostess, the landlady, the muscle, the drunk-wrangler, the comforter of the brokenhearted, etc.c etc. Tanya passed messages. She flirted with the boys who were just starting to be men and a little nervous to be in the big tavern room with the grown folk. The nice boys anyway. The bad ones she scowled at, though they seemed to like that just as much.
She mattered here. After ten years, this was her inn.
Tanya has been a tavern wench for as long as she can remember - her guardian, Froud, found her in the woods and took her home to work in the Smiling Snake. She can not imagine a life outside of her tavern, and when her guardian dies, she plans to continue running it. One small detail - her guardian didn’t list Tanya as his heir before he died. So she sets out on a quest to retain the Smiling Snake and goes through many adventures. Unsavory soldiers, wily bands of thieves, and a magical quill that seems to rearrange life around her isn’t enough to scare Tanya off. Nothing will come between her and her inn in this feminist fantasy.
Wench is chock-full of mini plot lines to keep you entertained, and it definitely did that for me. There are least six mini plots in this novel, and they are all mixed up together into one mega-plot of trying to get the Smiling Snake back. It gives you a great way to see Tanya in all sorts of situations and to get to know her as a well-rounded person with some morally grey areas and human desires. Doesn’t matter if she is working with a band of extorting thieves or for a queen trying to regain control of her reign, Tanya shines through her organization skills and determination to get what she wants.
However, the issue with having so many plots, is that you may lose sight of the original plot. Tanya’s original intention to get her inn back gets lost in learning blood magic, working for the queen, and then eventually defeating a demonic volcano god. The plot gets lost and feels rushed as heck, even with the novel being split into part two. I personally feel it would have been better experienced through a duology, where the individual plot lines would be fleshed out more - I would loved to see more of when Tanya worked for the Queen, or her backstory before Froud found her. If Wench had had even one less plot, it would have been more cohesive and less jumbled.
I got so inspired by this novel that I had to make a Book Look! I decided to go with a medieval-inspired look, featuring the purple and pink colors as shown on the cover. I did choose a silver corset to show the opulence that surrounds Tanya when she takes her place among the Queen’s court in Part II of Wench. My makeup is supposed to reflect the cover itself - if it falls short, you will have to forgive my simple makeup skills!
Are you still not sure about reading Wench? Well, if you like these books:
The Life and Medieval Times of Kit Sweetly, by Jamie Pacton
A Universe of Wishes: A We Need Diverse Books Anthology, by Dhonielle Clayton
The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, by Mackenzi Lee
Cinderella Is Dead, by Kalynn Bayron
Then you’d definitely want to grab a copy of Wench!
The good thing, Wench is officially out now! You can get a copy from your local bookstore or library, or you can get a copy online. Click on these buy links and you can get your own copy: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | Indigo | IndieBound.
But don’t worry - you can see about getting it for free! In celebration of Wench being released, there is a giveaway in which one person will win a finished copy of Wench. The giveaway starts on January 25th and ends on February 1st. Try your luck here!
Many thanks to TBR and Beyond Tours for allowing me to join the Wench book tour! You can check out the rest of the tour stops on their Tour Schedule webpage.
Author Bio: Maxine Kaplan was born in Washington, DC. She and her twin sister spent their early childhoods trotting behind their journalist parents as they traveled around the world, eventually settling in Brooklyn, NY. Maxine graduated from Oberlin College in 2007. Following a long stint in the world of publishing, she has worked as a private investigator since 2009. She lives in her adopted hometown of Brooklyn, NY, with her dimwitted, but soulful cat.
Her first novel The Accidental Bad Girl received a starred review in Publishers Weekly and will be available in paperback January 5, 2021. Her sophomore novel, Wench, is coming out on January 19, 2021.