Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Dark River Road-Virginia Brown

Dark River Road

Virginia Brown

Bell Bridge, Nov 15 2011, $26.95

ISBN: 9781611940558

In 1987 in Cane Creek, Mississippi, fourteen year old Chantry Callahan lives with his mom, his stepfather, his younger brother Mikey and two older stepbrothers. He believes his biological father died in Viet Nam. His stepfather Rainey hated the two reminders that his spouse was married once before; especially Mike who needs heart surgery and walks with braces. Chantry turned to the family’s black neighbor Dempsey Rivers the gardener as a father figure while he played with the daughter Tansey whose mother was white.

The Quinton family owns the town as they have for generations. Bert is the patriarch who rules as a despot while his spoiled grandson Chris enjoys his status as a future heir by picking on other though he has one chick in his royal armor; his attraction to unacceptable Tansy. Chantry and Bert’s granddaughter Cinda begin dating until her mother ends their relationship and the town patriarch takes it out on the lad’s loved ones. Chantry leaves town, but vows to return to learn the truth. Fifteen years later he is back seeking justice.

This is an entertaining regional drama told in two distinct periods with both eras coming vividly to life as the Mississippi Delta having radically changed in many ways in the fifteen year gap; yet in key ways remain the same as Bert still owns the town. Character driven with several mysteries then and now, fans will enjoy Chantry’s return home that shakes decades of status quo.

Harriet Klausner

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