"Children of the Waters" by Carleen Brice
Raised by her grandparents, Trish Taylor always believed that her mother and younger sister died in a tragic car accident. Years later as she is recovering from a divorce and facing racism head on with her biracial teenage son, she discovers that her childhood was based on a lie. Her mother had fatally overdosed and her grandparents had put her baby sister up for adoption because the child was half-Black.
Billie Cousins has lead a charmed but difficult life. Raised by strong Black parents whose success came on the back of hard work, Billie has drawn on the strength of her ancestors to get her through her battle with lupus. Her dream of having a baby finally comes true but her pregnancy is a nightmare for her partner Nick. When Billie discovers that she is adopted and her racial heritage is not what she thought, her world threatens to come crashing down around her.
Children of the Waters by Carleen Brice is novel that covers a wide range of topics - abandonment and adoption, self-esteem and acceptance, race and definition. And yet with all the heavy topics it covers, it is a book that flows easily and you find yourself finishing it in no time.
The chapters alternate between Trish and Billie from before they discovered they were sisters and through the process of connecting and coming to terms with their new identities. Through it all the story looks at what race relations are really like in our current day, how "old" attitudes still influence our lives, and how to move forward.
This was a wonderful read, and as I mentioned before it is a fast read. It's not because the book is without substance but because you don't want to put it down. What I really appreciated about the book was its honesty about race. I often find that books written on this topic by authors of all races are unfair in the portrayal of one race, that stereotypes often abound. And while you do get a glimpse of that in this book (the white women at Billie's African dance class killed me!), it's not an unfair generalization attributed to everyone, and Billie and Trish represent the honest thoughts of many people. Most importantly, Brice shows the reasons why peoples thoughts are this way, and how our experiences and environments inform our views of the world.
This is a fantastic read and I highly recommend it. Also, check out Carleen Brice's fabulous blog, White Readers Meet Black Authors.