From Publishers Weekly
When Dana and Hugh Clarke's baby is born into their wealthy, white New England seaside community, the baby's unmistakably African-American features puzzle her thoroughly Anglo-looking parents. Hugh's family pedigree extends back to the Mayflower, and his historian father has made a career of tracing the esteemed Clarke family genealogy, which does not include African-Americans. Dana's mother died when Dana was a child, and Dana never knew her father: she matter-of-factly figures that baby Lizzie's features must hark back to her little-known past. Hugh, a lawyer who has always passionately defended his minority clients, finds his liberal beliefs don't run very deep and demands a paternity test to rule out the possibility of infidelity. By the time the Clarkes have uncovered the tangled roots of their family trees, more than one skeleton has been unearthed, and the couple's relationship—not to mention their family loyalty—has been severely tested. Delinsky (Looking for Peyton Place
) smoothly challenges characters and readers alike to confront their hidden hypocrisies. Although the dialogue about race at times seems staged and rarely delves beyond a surface level, and although near-perfect Dana and her knitting circle are too idealized to be believable, Delinsky gets the political and personal dynamics right. (Feb.)
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The old and illustrious New England Clarke family has a new member, and she is not what the family envisioned. Elizabeth Clarke, a beautiful daughter born to Hugh and Dana, possesses definite African American traits, leaving the parents puzzled and the extended Clarke family scandalized. Hugh's parents believed that he was marrying down when he chose Dana, who has no idea who her father is and no desire to find out. Now, on what should be a joyous occasion, the birth of their first child, Hugh and Dana are struggling with issues of race, family, and trust. As Dana's family history and fidelity are questioned, Hugh, who thought he was above racism, now wants his wife to find out the truth about her heritage. While Dana searches for her father and Hugh's family pressures him to find out for certain if the child is indeed his, Hugh must confront the truth about himself, his family, and their racist attitude while also trying to reconcile his own attitude toward his daughter. Delinsky often writes with insight about complex family matters and here adds thought-provoking concerns about race in America to the mix in a novel that will stir debate and inspire self-examination. Patty EngelmannCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved