Press + Book Reviews
October 10, 2011 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter names Lorene to the School Reform Commission.
September 27, 2011 – Lorene talks FREE!, If Sons, Then Heirs, and Art Sanctuary with Talkadelphia.
September 18, 2011 – Lorene chats with KYW Newsradio’s John Ostapkovich about FREE!
August 14, 2011 – Roy Hoffman reviews ‘If Sons, Then Heirs’ for The New York Times.
July 24, 2011 – Lorene Cary launches Literally Speaking: Author House Parties
July 7, 2011 – Keeping up with Lorene Cary, via The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage
July 7, 2011 – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution calls ‘If Sons, Then Heirs’ an “…illuminating story about some of the worst injustice ever carried out in the name of agricultural policies, air strips, housing developments, shopping malls, corporate parks and timber rights.”
June 23, 2011 – NPR’s Alan Cheuse recommends ‘If Sons, Then Heirs’ as a great summertime read. Listen here.
June 22, 2011 – Rebecca Alpert, noted Associate Professor of Religion and Women’s Studies at Temple University and the author of Whose Torah?: A Concise Guide to Progressive Judaism, happens to be reading ‘If Sons, Then Heirs’: Writers Read
June 20, 2011 – “Cary manages to weave several messages into the story so skillfully, that you may not recognize all of them until well after you’ve finished the book.” – Reads4Pleasure
June 17, 2011 – “What’s…wonderful in this book is the use of history, land ownership and the impact of family separation and northern migration to drive the story.” – Black Book Blog
June 9, 2011 – “Cary crafts a beautiful tale of love, family and forgiveness.” – Viva La Feminista
June 6, 2011 – Cary returns to WHYY’s Radio Times to discuss ‘If Sons, Then Heirs’ with Marty Moss Coane.
June 6, 2011 – Long Island Pulse Magazine says “…Cary weaves a story of several generations of family held together by love and a determination to remember where they came from, and she does it by moving easily from era to era, bygone times to the present and back. That allows you to completely immerse yourself into this engrossing novel, its characters, and their lives.”
June 2011 – Kirkus Review
Multiple generations of an extended African-American clan grapple with racism, unfair land laws and each other in this multifaceted family saga.
Family may never be easy to maintain, but the Needhams have more than their share of complications. More than 20 years ago, Jewell (Needham) Thompson put her son on a southbound train and moved on to an affluent life with a wealthy white husband who helps her pass as white. That son, Alonzo Rayne, now 30, also came north to Philadelphia, but travels back to South Carolina to care for the grandmother who raised him-and to help keep up the old farm that she can no longer maintain. On this latest trip, he takes his girlfriend’s 7-year-old son Khalil, who has recently started to call him “Dad,” and a load of questions about whether he can commit to the boy and his mother. But the tentative reconnection of mother and son-prompted by the loving girlfriend who hopes to heal Rayne’s family and her own-brings up a violent and hate-filled past. That legacy, along with outdated laws that may cost the Needhams their land, form the backbone of a complex tale of realistic adults trying to forge a livable present while coming to terms with their legacies. Cary (Pride, 1999, etc.) returns to some of the themes of her earlier books: the abandonment of children, perhaps for their own good, and the ways we knit family together-with great success. Jumping from viewpoint to viewpoint, the narrative remains lively and distinctive, and if some of the bombshells are easy to predict (particularly the tragedy of Rayne’s uncle), they are still affecting. While racism and its long-lasting toll are constant themes, Cary never gets preachy.
A well-paced, entertaining novel woven of many strands that enlightens without becoming didactic.
May 30, 2011 – Blog ‘Devourer of Books’ reviews ‘If Sons, Then Heirs’
May 23, 2011 – Cary weaves complex tale of family, migration, says The Philadelphia Inquirer
May 17, 2011 – Color Online says ‘I loved losing myself in this families saga.’
May 12, 2011 – Audio of Cary reading ‘If Sons, Then Heirs’ at the Free Library of Philadelphia
May 9, 2011 – Cary Chats with Michael Eric Dyson about ‘If Sons, Then Heirs’
May 2, 2011 – NBC’s TodayShow.com lists ‘If Sons, Then Heirs’ as one of ten books to make mom cry — in a good way.
May 2011 – ‘This family story twists and turns…” says Ebony Magazine
May 2011 – Essence Magazine calls ‘If Sons, Then Heirs’ a ‘Triumph’
May 2011 – “The novel is epic in scope…Cary makes a powerful statement about African Americans’ generational wealth—or lack thereof—with a heavy nod toward the injustice of property laws that could ignore a woman’s stewardship of the land”, says Ms. Magazine
April 28 – Cary Q&A with North Paran
April 16 – “…a spicy, if somewhat thick, gumbo, with lots of flashbacks and more uplift than two episodes of “Oprah.” Cary gives the book a strong but non-pushy spine of religious faith. Something in this book will speak to every reader”, says Star News
Cary tells a complex story of family, race, and the challenges of reconciling the present with a persistent past. Alonzo Rayne was raised in South Carolina by his great-grandmother, Selma. Now he owns a construction business in Philadelphia and lives with Lillie, a single mom, and her seven-year-old son, Khalil. As the story begins, Khalil accompanies Alonzo to South Carolina where Alonzo urges the aging Selma to sell her land so they can pay for her long-term care. But she hasn’t owned the land since King, her husband, died almost 50 years ago; Selma was King’s second wife, not an heir, and this unforeseen fact, combined with ancient, racist inheritance laws, makes for a sticky situation. And Alonzo’s mother suddenly wanting to reconnect after years of abandonment further complicates matters; her marriage to the white man she met after abandoning her son turned her life around. Finally, Alonzo’s investigation into his great-grandmother’s land puts him on a collision course with the men who brought about his great-grandfather’s violent end. Cary (Black Ice) pairs generations of loving, and loyal individuals with social history, making for an absorbing and moving tale. (May)
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Carleen Brice, author of Orange Mint and Honey and Children of the Waters
“Every single character pops off the page in this amazing story. This masterwork of a novel made me laugh and cry out loud. Important, enjoyable, and wonderfully moving. An absolute delight.”