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Pulitzer Fiction Prize Candidate 2007
512 p. Hardcover, ISBN:0-9649756-2-9
Falcon Creek Publishing Co.


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REVIEW by MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW (MBR) stars-5-0
Highly recommended.

Written by Gene Cartwright, A Family Gathering is an extensive novel of tragedy, triumph, extreme hardship, bitter secrets, and one woman's long struggle to survive and overcome since a pivotal day in her girlhood.

Set in the American South, across years in which racial equality was a dream to hope for but all too often dispelled by hate and violence, A Family Gathering explores such diverse subjects as black-on-black hatred, prostitution, family strife, and the mysterious comings and goings of enigmatic figures.

A large cast interweaves their tangle of conflicting desires, though the main focus is upon Deborah Yvonne Davis, the girl and later grown woman caught amid a shocking world filled with lies and betrayal, but also hope and love. Highly recommended.

Review

A FAMILY GATHERING

A Family Gathering places you in the south during some of our most turbulent times in African-American history. Although segregation had been abolished, someone forgot to mention that to the people of Reedville, Arkansas. In 1974, Reedville still epitomized the separate but not equal policies of the rural south.

Yet, there is a family whose secrets become the impetus to heartache, pain, lies and even murder. May 15, 1974, forever changed the life of twelve-year-old Deborah Davis and the entire Davis clan. Deborah is one of four children of the Reverend Henry Davis and his wife Mabel. They have raised their children in the church and in a strict household. Unbeknownst to Deborah, an innocent ride with the son of the wealthiest and most powerful family in Reedville would change the course of her life irrevocably. This unforgettable day leaves Deborah battered physically and feeling mentally battered and all alone.

However, when the Reverend and his wife decide it would be best for Deborah to move to Chicago with her aunt and uncle, Deborah is heartbroken and she realizes the self she once knew is dead. The life she once revered is no longer one she can cling to because she has another life within her to protect. Deborah boards a bus to Chicago and does not return until the Reverend is on his deathbed. She returns home as a famous novelist but with trepidation because she has had little contact with her siblings and mother and none with the Reverend.

Yet, she knows upon returning home she must forgive her parents and siblings for ostracizing her so she can move pass the pain of her childhood. Upon her return, Deborah and the family gather in love, forgiveness and hope but underneath this thin veil are the secrets that slowly unfold. Deborah is forced to relive the events of May 15, 1974 and she must share her secrets with the family. Yet, Deborah is not the only one in the family or in Reedville with secrets. This family lived with secrets and those secrets and will come to light.

Gene Cartwright, has written a saga that relishes in dark secrets and it will take a sequel to tell them all. He has created characters with so much strength the reader can actually visualize this novel on the big or small screen. The Davis family and their secrets will keep the reader enthralled until the very end. The reader will not be disappointed that all the secrets are not revealed; they know the sequel will be even better. This is a well-crafted, strong story of a family and the secrets they try to hide in the light, but surely will come alive in the dark. A FAMILY GATHERING also gives the reader a powerful message of hope, truth and strength. The sequel is sure to be even more enlightening.

Reviewed by Cashana Seals of The RAWSISTAZª Reviewers

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