I first read an interview with Connie Briscoe and learned of the upcoming release of this book back in May in USA Today. I knew I wanted to read it, so when Miriam of Hachette Book Group offered it to me, I said yes immediately. This is the long awaited sequel to Connie Briscoe’s first book, Sisters and Lovers.
It’s a story about marriage. It’s centered around Beverly who is a month away from marrying Julian. Beverly’s family and friends are crossing their fingers that she will go through with it. She has backed away from marriage two other times at the last minute. This time things seem to be different. Beverly and Julian are truly in love. And, Julian is not just a good looking man. He’s reliable, hard-working, successful and completely devoted to Beverly. He’s her soul mate.
You could say that Beverly has commitment issues but it’s really more than that. Beverly is not a dewy-eyed twenty-something. She’s 39, owns her own townhouse, has a good job as a journalist and she’s dated enough to know the good guys from the bad. What’s bothering Beverly is that she is afraid of marriage. She doesn’t want anything to go wrong.
Beverly has examples of good marriages to look at. Her parents and Julian’s parents and his brothers all have long term, good marriages. Her sister, Evelyn, who’s a psychologist, has what everyone calls the perfect marriage. Now then her other sister, Charmaine, has been married four times but this last one looks like it’s going to stick. So, why would Beverly have any major doubts?
She doesn’t until Evelyn’s perfect marriage falls apart. She and her husband have been married for over 25 years. It’s the marriage everyone looks up to. That starts a cascade of problems. Charmayne’s 14 year old stepdaughter comes for the summer and is the cause of a split between Charmayne and her husband. Beverly learns a cousin is getting divorcced and then there is her best friend who’s fiance has been physically pushing her around. Now Beverly has serious doubts about marriage.
I hope I haven’t made this sound like a soap opera because it’s not. It’s a light-hearted look at a family of three sisters a month before a wedding. They do have enough drama going on in their lives but, they have such a strong bond between them. It’s rewarding to see how supportive they are of each other. They joke around and squabble, just like real sisters. Their conversations are that of people you know.
It felt so real that there were times I was talking out loud to these women as if I were sitting there. For instance, men do not fare well here. There were occasions when I was shouting to the sisters, “Not ALL men are dogs!” Beverly was so focused on the marriages that were having trouble. I kept telling her to look at her parents and Julian’s parents. She wasn’t listening to me.
I loved this book. I gulped it down. Although the subject matter, marriage, is serious, it didn’t feel heavy. It felt light and fun and a little gossipy. I liked that this was a story about a middle class black family. There were no stereotypes or characterisations. Just real people. There were a few references to black marriages and black men but just a part of the story.
I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a fun, easy book that gives you something to think about. It would also make a good book club book. The discussion questions are already in the back of the book.
About the author: Connie Briscoe is the author of five best-selling books featuring African-American women. They are:
- Sisters & Lovers
- PG County
- Can’t Get Enough
- You Only Get Better
- Jewels: 50 Phenomenal Black Women Over 50
To read the interview I was referring to in USA Today, go HERE. It’s a nice long, chatty article. She has a very nice website which you can find HERE. I like this author and I’m going to read more of her. Next, I’d like to find Jewels: 50 Phenomenal Black Women Over 50.