From Publishers Weekly
Big passions lead to deadly romantic triangles for two generations of African-Americans in Mason's latest (after 2003's One Day I Saw a Black King
). The story begins in the 1930s, when 14-year-old Roberta Adams sets her sights on handsome mill worker Charles Brooks, even though he's passionately involved with Nadine, a married woman. But Roberta is crafty: when love potions don't work on Charles, she tries poison on Nadine. One night, as Nadine lies dying, Roberta pounces on Charles. The seduction works; Roberta gets pregnant and Charles must marry her, a union that turns out quite well considering its provenance. But Charles eventually goes astray when his side job as a handyman brings him in contact with pretty young Sara Tate, whom he handily seduces and impregnates. And, oh, the lurid lives of smalltown Texans! Roberta, inflamed by jealousy, tries to kill Sara's child and then wakes her husband up and stabs him, nearly slicing off his head. The plotting turns even more cartoonish when Mason leaps ahead to the 1960s. Roberta has just been released after years of incarceration, and Sara's mentally handicapped son, Adam (people call him "Fool"), is accused of rape when the girl he loves gets pregnant. Mason's flair for fast-moving narration makes this an easy read, but readers may find there's far too much meanness, deceit and violence.
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In this novel, generations of black Texas families struggle to survive love, lust, and betrayal. Eula Mae Adams loses her senses over her affair with a married man. After her death, her daughter, Roberta, is taken in and raised by the local midwife, Martha Armstrong. Roberta wants to get away from Martha and sets her sights on the handsome Charles Harris, who is having an affair with Nadine Cooper. To get rid of their baby, Nadine buys some of Martha's abortion potion. Roberta takes advantage of Nadine and Charles' hiatus and seduces him. Recognizing that Roberta is pregnant, Martha demands that Charles marry her. Thus, Roberta sacrifices love for an illusion, and Charles sacrifices love for honor and duty. It isn't until he meets Sara Tate that he loves a woman with the intensity that Roberta loves him. Charles attempts to maintain two families until Roberta discovers him with Sara and seeks revenge. Mason's prequel to her novel One Day I Saw a Black King
(2003) is full of surprises and answers. Lillian LewisCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved