Kensington, Apr 2001, 14.00, 416 pp.
On the surface, Tamra and Charles Lane seem to be living the American lifestyle. They were childhood sweethearts in Maryland and in spite of different dreams for their future, are happily married. Yet after thirteen years of wedlock and having children, Tamra leaves her spouse, not an easy decision since she still loves him.
Tamra looks to her heritage to help her finalize her decision. She turns to her own mother Virginia who left her own spouse, a school administrator. Tamra also looks back at the family powerhouse her grandmother who kept everyone together while the world collapsed around their family. Still, Tamra needs to learn what she can from her immediate female antecedents while Charles struggles with why since he feels he has given her everything she wants.
CHESAPEAKE SONG is a well-written character study that centers on how the lessons of childhood impact the adult as family patterns and histories repeat itself in each generation. The story line employs flashbacks to provide insight into the relationship between Tamra's parents and the influence of her grandmother as well as how Tamra and Charles have reached a critical fork in the road. Though not paramount to the main theme, but an added bonus, the audience observes African-American relationships over the last four decades. Readers who want action need to go elsewhere, but anyone interested in family dynamics will enjoy the insightful debut of Brenda Lane Richardson.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner