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P.G. County: A Novel Mass Market Paperback – February 27, 2007

3.6 out of 5 stars 119 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the P.G. County Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Affluent African-Americans are the protagonists of this entertaining novel, a gossipy tell-all that goes behind the scenes of suburban life to reveal the secrets of the inhabitants of Silver Lake, an exclusive enclave of Prince George's County, a Washington, D.C., suburb. Through the eyes of five women, readers learn that even in this so-called exclusive community, residents are still fighting to be judged for who they are rather than what "class of society" they represent. Barbara, the grand dame of Silver Lake, is a recovering alcoholic married to Bradford Bently III, multimillionaire and womanizer. She's struggling to regain her self-confidence and to save her 30-year marriage. Jolene, married to hardworking Patrick, is a high-ranking civil servant blinded by revenge and greed and willing to do whatever it takes to move up the social ladder. Pearl, a divorc‚e, is a successful beauty-shop owner, living on the outskirts of the community. Candice is an aging white flower child, living with her second husband and two daughters and coming to grips with an old family secret that, if revealed, may tear her family apart. Lee, a runaway teenager, looking for a father who doesn't know she exists, comes to Silver Lake armed with one clue, the nickname Smokey. Though the story is a stereotypical smalltown drama, Briscoe (Sisters and Lovers) uses her skill as a talented storyteller to deliver just the right touch of intrigue.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-Prince George's County, MD, adjacent to the nation's capital and one of America's most affluent majority African-American counties, is the backdrop to this novel. The main characters live in the exclusive, gated Silver Lake community. They include Barbara, the long-suffering wife of a womanizing self-made millionaire; Jolene, a sexy, materialistic government executive who seeks to replace her husband with a wealthier, more ambitious man; and Candice, a white, aging hippie whose daughter, Ashley, is dating Kenyatta, a young black man. Candice opposes her daughter's dating outside of her race, and Kenyatta's mother, a hardworking divorc‚e whose husband had abandoned them to marry a white woman, is equally against her son's choice. Lee is an abused, runaway teen whose life collides violently with the opulent world of Silver Lake in her desperate search for her father, whom she has never met. One subplot gives an unexpected 21st-century spin on the "tragic mulatto" literary theme of the early 20th century. Teens who have read James Weldon Johnson's The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man (Vintage, 1989) or Charles Chestnutt's "The Wife of His Youth" might find it interesting to compare the significance of racial identification explored in those works to its importance here. Fans of Terry McMillan and E. Lynn Harris will also enjoy this novel.
Joyce Fay Fletcher, Rippon Middle School, Prince William County, VA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: One World/Ballantine (February 27, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034549492X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345494924
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,693,780 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read the books out of order. I read the sequel "Cant Get Enough" first. I must admit "Can't Get Enough" is much better.

Barbara Bently is married to the worse kind of philanderer, Bradford Bentley. He can't seem to keep his extra marital affairs a secret. He doesn't seem to care how his affairs have embarrassed Barbara and their daughters. They are one of the wealthiest couples in the neighborhood. It's evident that money isn't the root of happiness but is (in the book) the root of all evil. After many years of marriage and dealing with his extra marital affairs, she still sticks around.

Jolene is a very materialistic home-wrecker who is trying very hard to pretend to live a certain lifestyle just to impress her neighbors and family (mother and father). She doesn't care who she hurts, including her loving husband Patrick, to get what she wants. Jolene wants wealthy social elite. It doesn't matter who he is, just as long as he's rich and can afford the lavish lifestyle that she wants to have. In desperation, she tries to lure Bradford Bently in. She throws a huge house-warming party at her new million dollar home to impress her neighbors. She wants this party to be the party that everyone will remember and talk about for months. IT WILL BE!!!! All the things that she has done in the dark will come to light at this party.

Pearl is the single mother and awesome cook/baker who own a beauty shop. She isn't comfortable with her son, Kenyatta, dating out side of his race. After a lot of convincing she tries to accept Kenyatta's girlfriend (Candice's daughter) but still isn't comfortable with their relationship.
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Format: Hardcover
Drama, Drama, Drama, that's how I describe the story line in P.G. County by Connie Briscoe. If you happen to like drama in your life, this is the book for you. From the opening page to its abrupt conclusion, this novel is packed with scandal, infidelity and betrayal, all of the classic elements of a daytime soap opera but rarely seen as expertly crafted in black fiction.
For these women, Lee, Barbara, Jolene, Pearl and Candice, their problems resolve around race and money. Interracial dating and interrace disputes are as much characters in this novel as the women themselves. I, too found these topics interesting enough for a novel, so I covered them in my book, Dark Recesses. In P.G. County, however, racial identity and acceptance are just a backdrop to the core troublemaker, money.
As the quote goes, "when money is seen as a solution for every problem, money itself becomes the problem," by Richard Needham. From the enormous house, elaborate weddings, and expensive shopping tastes, the women in P.G. County raise excess to new heights. For most of the women in this story, money is used to console them, rather than working on resolving the relationship and self-identity issues they have. One of the relationships on the brink of ruin from the beginning of the story is Barbara and Bradford's.
At times, the reader is led to hope for the couple believing the adage, "a successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person," by Mignon McLaughlin. When Bradford makes an effort to rekindle his love with his wife, you almost believe their marriage and lives will turn around, but that wouldn't make a good soap opera, now would it?
Mary J.
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Format: Hardcover
Initially I got into the book and began to enjoy it. HOwever, my stomach and enjoyment of the book began to take a serious nosedive as the character of Candice began to be revealed. All enjoyment of the storyline was removed once Candice found out one of her ancestors was black. The fact that she suddenly considered herself to be a black woman was beyond comprehension. I cannot fathom what Briscoe was doing in writing such a thing or where she felt that this was going. It is one thing to acknowledge that there was once a one drop rule, but to take it to this extent in a book written by a black woman no less was pretty disconcerting. Perhaps there is something deeper here that I am missing. I really hope so. Overall I would say the book was lacking in depth. It is one of those books that you might take along on vacation when you know you want something light to read, but not something heavy that is going to require lots of thought and analysis. Perhaps others will enjoy the soap opera style writing, but I did not.
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By A Customer on September 22, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Excellent! Bravo! Well worth the wait for Connie Briscoe's return. With the introduction of the Bentley's(aptly titled) Jolene, Patrick, Candace(who really added nothing to the story), Lee, and Pearl, we are introduced to P. G. County, an affluent all Black suburb. The characters were lost in status and power measuring themselves against the stick of the Joneses...whose got the biggest Mercedes, the biggest house, and the best husband. It was a fast intriguing ride. This book comes with a guarantee that there is something for everyone in this story. ENJOY!
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