About the New Novel

At 30 years old, Rayne Needham’s only interest in his family’s unproductive South Carolina farm is how to get his great-grandmother, Nana Selma, out of it.  Selma has held on, just barely, to the family’s “heir property,” and she cherishes the idea that Rayne will take it over. Once given to ex-slaves by General Sherman, this land is governed by state laws that make it hard to keep through generations—and easy to lose.

In Philadelphia, meanwhile, Rayne’s life is moving fast:  his construction business has scored its first big municipal contract; the mother who abandoned him as a boy has come back into his life; and just as he and his beautiful girlfriend wonder whether they can make it together, her son begins, secretly, to call him Dad.

If Sons, then Heirs follows Rayne Needham South to ancestral land in jeopardy—and into a savage, hidden history that he must not only discover, but also heal. Rayne’s struggle with this complex inheritance illuminates a powerful, but untold story of black land ownership and its tragic loss.

Lorene Cary, author of Black Ice and The Price of a Child, writes with intimacy and compassion about the power of family secrets, the hard legacy of lynching and segregation, and the resilience of the human spirit.


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