Where Was God On May 15, 1974?
by MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW (MBR)
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 complicated 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.
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
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
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