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Family Tree by [Delinsky, Barbara]
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Family Tree Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Length: 369 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

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 Engelmann
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 782 KB
  • Print Length: 369 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor (Feb. 6 2007)
  • Sold by: Random House Canada, Incorp.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000NJL7KA
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #229,601 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The reviewers have outlined the plot, but they fail to mention the quiet, gentle tone of the writing. In my opinion Barbara Delinsky has come a long way from her romance novel roots, and this book proves it. The characters, who are all decent in their way, struggle with situations they could not foresee, and the author's motto of forgiveness for having human frailties should strike a chord with us all.

In my opinion, this is her best book yet and I can't wait for the next one.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wow I loved the book, another one that keep me wanting more and to keep reading on. I recommend this book.

THank you
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I didn't mind it - a fast read - it took too long to get to the point. Not my type of book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x98158e64) out of 5 stars 190 reviews
65 of 68 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x986719e4) out of 5 stars Another winner by Barbara Delinsky July 28 2007
By Ratmammy - Published on
Format: Hardcover
FAMILY TREE by Barbara Delinsky
July 28, 2007

Amazon Rating: 4/5 stars

I hadn't read a Barbara Delinsky book in quite a while (years) so this one was a treat. In FAMILY TREE, Dana Clarke is pregnant. She and her husband Hugh are expecting their first child with much anticipation. She is looking forward to raising her own family and creating a loving home, something she didn't have when she was growing up.

When she finally gives birth to her daughter, there is a big shock. While Dana and Hugh are both obviously white, their newborn daughter is not. She's definitely of African American descent, and now Dana is wondering who in her family was black. Hugh is able to trace his ancestry several centuries back, but there are a number of unknowns in Dana's background, including a father she knows nothing about. The birth of her daughter has now forced Dana to go in search of her roots, because it seems that Hugh isn't even sure he can trust Dana, accusing her of having an affair, possibly with their neighbor.

FAMILY TREE is about racism, and whether color has anything to do with what a person is really all about. Hugh loves his wife, but Dana feels that because he thinks she's part black, he is treating her differently. Her in-laws also find more reason to fault her, as they didn't quite welcome her with open arms to begin with. I enjoyed the book a lot, as I found the search for Dana's roots interesting. There was a lot of tension between Dana and Hugh as they try to find out where the missing link in the family tree is coming from. There is a big surprise towards the end of the story, however, and while I suspected it at first, it still came as a shock to me when it was revealed. FAMILY TREE was a fast read and fans of Barbara Delinsky and women's fiction will be sure to enjoy this one.
79 of 89 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x97b003a8) out of 5 stars When White is Black Aug. 1 2007
By Dera R Williams - Published on
Format: Hardcover
In this enlightened year of 2007, intelligent, educated people accept people for who they are, right? So what if you happen to be mixed race. Well, as long as it isn't in a blue blood family. Barbara Delinsky puts a new twist on the term "reaching back". That term refers to how a baby can reach back and take on the physical traits of an ancestor. This is what happens when Dana and Hugh, a white couple, have a baby girl who comes out with obvious African features. Hugh comes from a Brahmin New England family. His father, a professor, proudly writes about his forebears aristocratic bearing.

The premise was good,however, I found the execution to be flawed on so many levels. The condescending manner of most of the white characters and the self-deprecating manner of the token Black characters were very irritating. Another thing, all the "Black" or African American characters were bi-racial. I kept scratching my head. It's like Delinsky didn't know that Blacks could be mixed without being biracial.

David, the neighbor, left a bad taste in my mouth. He was a self-deprecating, self-hating person. He wished his half-white daughter was all white. "Life would be easier for her," he wishes he were white and, he is in love with Dana, the protagonist, and basically lives white. We find out later he is indeed biracial but his description does not lend itself to that. He was a pitiful character, whining about being black and mooning over Dana. The characters were obviously drawn from a white writer who has limited experience with blacks and therefore the integrity of the storyline was compromised. She could have asked somebody.

As a genealogist and researcher of African American culture, I am well aware of the dynamics of mixed blood and how it is played out in America. I know there are some white families who have black ancestors; a secret that some of them do not want brought to the light. As an African American, I know that we are not a monolith and we do not all subscribe to the theory that to be white is the ultimatum desire.

The story was predictable; there was a foreshadowing that predicated the end result. The best part was determining who was the "culprit"; the carrier of the dreaded African gene. I do not know where Delinsky was going with this or what, if any point she was trying to make but I expected more substance. There were too many stereotypical, clichéd characters, therefore leaving those readers who have little experience or contact with African Americans with misconceptions. The ending was a little too kumbaya but it was a quick read that some may find entertaining.

P.S. Earlier this year, I read and reviewed When She Was White by Judith Stone, a nonfiction account of a black child born to white parents in Apartheid South Africa.

Dera Williams
49 of 58 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x97ebea68) out of 5 stars Really, really bad March 4 2007
By Holly - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I normally love Barbara Delinsky books (read my review on "Summer I Dared), but this was an exception. Ms. Delinsky comes across as wanting to write a "serious" book about "serious" issues and the whole thing fails miserably. It feels very, very forced. The characters are contrived and they behave in ways that make absolutely no sense. Some of the characters change positions without any warning or explanation. All of the characters act like small children wanting their way and oblivious of those around them and how they feel. This would make sense for some characters, but NONE of them act like the mature/successful/intelligent people Ms. Delinsky describes them to be. It feels like the characters do and say things to make a point Ms. Delinsky wants to make rather than that being how the character would think or behave. I found myself thinking "you have got to be kidding" more times than I can say as I read this book.

I can't go into plot line without having "spoilers" which will prevent this from being posted, but just let me say ..... if you want to read it, go to the library. Please don't spend your hard-earned money on this !
45 of 55 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9842d360) out of 5 stars I expected more Feb. 27 2007
By Patricia Kay - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm a huge Barbara Delinsky fan, but FAMILY TREE simply didn't live up to my expectations. As another reviewer said, I couldn't identify with these characters. The premise was fantastic -- in fact, my first thought upon reading about the book was, I wish I'd thought of it first. :) I especially had problems with Hugh. From the moment he insisted upon DNA testing, I disliked him, and nothing he did after that redeemed him in my eyes. Dana, too, gave me problems. Why she acted the way she did about finding her father mystified me. And the way she behaved AFTER she found him made me dislike her, too. In fact, no one in this book behaves in a reasonable or sensible way. And no one is very likable.

The prose is pure Delinsky -- clean and spare -- always great. But it's really frustrating when I plunk down cash for a hard cover novel by an author I expect to really enjoy and then the story and characters disappoint big time.

However, I'll still keep buying Delinsky in hopes that FAMILY TREE is simply an exception to her usual skillful and enjoyable stories.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x97bfcab0) out of 5 stars A highly recommended Barbara Delinsky book Feb. 16 2007
By J. J. Engler - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book is one of Barbara's best. The story line grips you and holds you all the way through the book. Her characters are real, have depth, and develop through the turmoils of the story. It is a fast read but only because you do not want to put it down. It will keep you reading until you get the end. I didn't want to put it down.

It is not a romance story so if you want lots of romance and sexy scenes, you are not going to get it in this book. On the other hand, it is a love story. Love between husband and wife and parent and child and love or lack of love with other family members.

I don't think the added story line about Earl took away from the story but rather added to it in that it kept you guessing. And the story line with Corinne was not a distraction either. It showed another angle of love and trust among husbands and wives.

I highly recommend this story and if you haven't read Barbara Delinsky before, start with this one and then read "Together Alone" and then "For My Daughters" and keep on going. She is great author.