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Children of the Waters: A Novel Paperback – June 23, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Brice's uneven second novel (after Orange Mint and Honey) follows two lonely women as they discover they have a lot in common. Having survived a messy divorce and a move back to her hometown of Denver, Trish Taylor already has her hands full raising her teenage son when she reads a letter left by her deceased grandmother. In it, her grandmother reveals that Trish's mother died from a heroin overdose and Trish's baby sister, Billie, was given up for adoption because the father was black. Despite her grandparents' prejudice, Trish has no issues with race. She's white, her ex-husband is black, but Billie is unwilling to believe that her adoptive parents would have kept the secret that she was adopted and is biracial. Billie has other problems as well: an unplanned pregnancy has sent her jazz-musician boyfriend packing and she, like Trish, has lupus. Brice sets up the sisters for the blandest of confrontations (one watches chick flicks, the other teaches African dance), but as they come together in the second half of the book, the initially stock characters develop enough to compensate for a narrative tending toward melodrama. (July)
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Review

“In Children of the Waters, Carleen Brice manages to explore the difficult, messy and unpleasant details of life with both humor and wisdom. The parallel journeys of sisters, Trish and Billie, will resonate with everyone and anyone who has questioned their identity and place in this world. Once again, Carleen Brice has crafted a thoroughly enjoyable novel that gets at the heart of the human experience." – Lori Tharps, author of Kinky Gazpacho

“I was exhausted and singing the blues the hour I began Carleen Brice's new novel, Children of the Waters. Five hours later, I'd finished this fresh, free-rein novel about mothers’ secrets and children's sorrows and was shouting 'Hurray!'” – Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean

“In Children of the Waters, Carleen Brice deftly explores issues of family, identity, and race with a wonderful abundance of humor, forgiveness, and grace. This moving story of two sisters separated by prejudice will open minds and touch hearts. —Meg Waite Clayton, author of The Wednesday Sisters

“Carleen Brice highlights the effects of America's complicated relationship with race and identity…a clear and insightful depiction of what it means to be American at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Brice knows how far we have come and how far there is left to go, and in Children of the Waters she deftly lays it all out for the reader to see.”—Matthew Aaron Goodman, author of Hold Love Strong
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 315 pages
  • Publisher: One World/Ballantine; Original edition (June 23, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345499077
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345499073
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,511,191 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Carleen Brice's debut novel, ORANGE MINT AND HONEY, is the basis for the NAACP Image Award-winning Lifetime TV movie "Sins of the Mother" starring Jill Scott and Nicole Beharie. ORANGE MINT AND HONEY was also an Essence "Recommended Read" and a Target "Bookmarked Breakout Book." For this book, she won the 2009 First Novelist Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and the 2008 Break Out Author Award at the African American Literary Awards Show.

Booklist Online called her second novel, CHILDREN OF THE WATERS (One World/Ballantine), a book about race, love and family, "a compelling read, difficult to put down." Essence said, "Brice has a new hit."

Please visit her website, www.carleenbrice.com.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Linda Chavis on July 5, 2009
Format: Paperback
Children of the Waters was an interesting read for me as I don't really like themes of abandonment but I found myself caught up in the story if for no other reason to see the outcome of the characters Carleen Brice so brilliantly created and wrote about. I was most interested in the character named Billie who had for me the most to deal with in the story. Billie has lupus and is in LOVE with Nick who has his own demons to deal with that affect the relationship in ways that almost had me turning to the end to see what and how they were going to deal with it. Several issues crop up for Billie and the way Carleen writes the story, I'm sure you'll be rooting for her as I was. Carleen has done it again with a story that has real life themes that keep you turning the pages just like I did when reading Orange Mint and Honey. I look forward to the next book by this author who is now one of my favorites.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Cyrus Webb TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 27, 2009
Format: Paperback
Bestselling author Carleen Brice returns with a powerful narrative of two sisters bound by blood but separated by the forces of society and prejudice that we all either endure or encourage.

CHILDREN OF THE WATERS is one of those books that will truly fit the bill for men and women who want a literary masterpiece to discuss issues of race, self-esteem and acceptance (from others and even ourselves). It's not a book just for black folks, though you might have to go to your African American section of your favorite bookstore to find it. It's a book with real-life characters that reflects America: imperfect yet striving to find the very best of itself, no matter what the circumstances.

Thank you, Carleen, for giving us what all true lovers of words expect from a talented author: a book that will leave us changed forever.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 20, 2009
Format: Paperback
Carleen Brice's newest work, Children of the Waters, centers on two sisters that find each other as adults. This story had me from page one as a secret is revealed that changes the way the sisters view each other, race and family.

Billie, an African American woman with lupus and Trish, a Causcian women with an interracial son, are both richly drawn and complex. Through the discovery of their family bond, the reader is forced to examine their own core beliefs about race and family. Told through alternating narrative between the two sisters, I rooted for these strong women to embrace each other as sisters. The conclusion of the story reveals that the definition of family goes deeper than blood and race is only a color to describe the package and not the person.

Carleen Brice follows up her excellent debut, Orange Mint and Honey, with another outstanding piece of work. I look forward to the next novel from this author.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Meserve on July 3, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I so loved Carleen Brice's debut novel that I wasn't sure how I could love CHILDREN OF THE WATERS as much as I did ORANGE MINT & HONEY. After finishing this novel in two sittings, I found there was nothing to worry about. Brice has outdone herself.

The book's chapters alternate between two half-sisters with very different experiences and backgrounds.

Brice handles both sides of a silent conversation about race that for most of us is remains a one-sided dialog. I feel like I often times am Trish -- the white character who, despite having black friends and family she loves will still never be able to experience things from their perspective. Brice forces the sisters to work through the often unrecognized issues that in what some are calling a "post-racial" age, almost everyone continues to struggle with.

Brice has again given us the fantastic Denver backdrop that she writes like no one else does. CHILDREN OF THE WATERS is a great story that's beautifully written.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Angelia Menchan on September 6, 2009
Format: Paperback
Carleen Brice's Children of the Waters is s book that will immerse readers in so many thoughts and possibly memories. The premise of the story is two sisters, one white and the other bi-racial, are separated for years due to a decision made by their grandmother. However, there are so many layers to this story that are at once so simple, yet so complicated. Before saying another word about the storyline I would like to recommend Children of the Waters to all who can read, understand and enjoy well-written literature.

Trish Taylor is separated from her husband and doing everything she can to raise her 16 year-old son, Will. She is struggling with her weight, she is lonely, but one thing for sure is she loves her child. She discovers though, that love will not protect him from some things, considering he is a teenage boy and bi-racial and she is a white woman. But she will do the best she can. She is also discovering some inconsistencies about the death of her mother and baby sister. Trish is in store for the surprise of her life.

Billie Cousins life has been wonderful, though filled with challenges. She was brought up in a loving family and has a good life. She has struggled with a life-threatening illness, but she is doing well and has discovered she is pregnant. However, there is a small problem, the father of her child, Nick, is not happy about becoming a father; he has other concerns. What Billie does not know is that Nick is about to be the least of her concerns. Discovering she was adopted and has another family is more than she is ready for.

Ms. Brice does a wonderful job of bringing us the story from the perspectives of Trish and Billie and allowing readers to see how complicated the issues of race, love and family can be. I cannot say enough about how this book touched my heart and made me think and I will recommend it to everyone within the sound of my voice.

Angelia Vernon Menchan
APOOO BookClub
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