In her triumphant new novel, bestselling author Valerie Wilson Wesley, one of the most respected and acclaimed voices in contemporary African American fiction, poignantly examines the stubborn bonds of family, passion, and a past that insists on repeating itself.
Dani Carter was seven years old -- her sister, Rose, seventeen -- when their beautiful, impetuous mother, Maria, walked out of their lives, abandoning her husband and family for a love affair that would end tragically mere months later. Over the decades that followed, Dani was able to overcome the persistent pain and feelings of betrayal, eventually wedding a successful man and giving birth to a wonderful son. But love has long been missing from her marriage, propelling her into the arms of another and inspiring troubling thoughts of escape. If it were not for the distress caused by the recent death of her father, she might well have already been gone. The sins of the mother, Dani fears, have been visited upon the daughter.
Dani's sister, Rose, never spoke or speaks of their lost parent. And their iron-willed, driven father -- who channeled his shame and anger into phenomenal business success -- always made it brutally clear that he considered his ex-wife to be evil incarnate. But Dani remembers a sweet, funny, vivacious young woman who did everything with exuberant love and tenderness. And now that she finds herself in a similar heartbreaking situation, Dani can't help but wonder who Maria really was.
It's a puzzle that may soon be completed, after a lifetime of searching for missing pieces. Maria, calling herself Mariah, is about to reenter her daughters' worlds -- at a time of emotional confusion and physical chaos -- bearing secrets and bitter truths ... and, perhaps, long-awaited answers to what could possibly drive a mother to sacrifice what was dearest to her heart.
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Valerie Wilson Wesley is the author of the novels Always True to You in My Fashion and Ain't Nobody's Business If I Do, winner of the 2000 Best Fiction Award of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, as well as the nationally bestselling Tamara Hayle mystery series. A contributing editor at Essence magazine, her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Ms. and the New York Times. She lives in New Jersey.From School Library Journal:
Adult/High School-Wesley is in high form in this contemporary story about mother-daughter relationships in an African-American family. When she was in her 30s, Mariah had an affair that led to her leaving her husband and two daughters. Several months later, she shot her lover and spent time in prison for his murder. Now Rose and Dani are grown, and she has just read of her ex-husband's death. Desperate to make peace with her children after all these years, she makes plans to attend the funeral. Meanwhile, her daughters have spent their lives trying to come to terms with their mother's desertion. The choices that they have made in their relationships reflect both the influence of their Aunt Lucille, who raised them, and the lingering memories of Mariah. When the three women meet again, long-buried issues are brought to the surface and change each of their lives in ways they could not have anticipated. Told from the perspectives of Mariah, Rose, Dani, and Lucille, the story is rich and compelling, and much more complex than it appears on the surface. Interwoven into the tale are themes of racial relationships and the drug culture of the '60s and '70s. The characters are totally believable in their various combinations of grace and flaws. Readers will identify with the struggles of these women to define themselves, rather than letting their circumstances define them.-Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Library System, VA
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