Blues From Down Deep
by Gwynne Forster
Category: Fiction / General
320 pages; ISBN: 1-57566-920-X
Rating: 8/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Brenda Ramsbacher
For most of her life, Regina Pearson wanted to know her family. But her father refused to talk. He only said that he was glad he left those Southern states behind. So for forty years, Regina lived the life of a loner in Hawaii even when surrounded by friends. Then in an answer to her prayer, her father dies and requests she handles his possessions personally. Although not a Hawaiian trait, Regina sorts through paperwork and comes across old letters telling of a woman named Maude Witherspoon of New Bern, North Carolina. Yet no matter how hard and deep she looks, Regina is unable to locate the woman until she calls the local chamber office.
Within pages, Regina is ready to embark on a new life with a family she can call her own.
As the new manager of Craven Hotel, Regina butts head with designer, Justin Duval. At the same time, Regina passionately wishes for communication with the extended family who prefers to ignore her presence for fear of dredging up the past. But Regina is not about to sit idly by and ignore the family she came so far to meet. So with the help of Maude, Regina prepares to meet the relatives.
Enter in a mish-mash of characters.
Abner Witherspoon is a crafty old man determined not to let anyone know he has a soft heart. Especially that newfound granddaughter of his who thinks she needs a family. Enter in Harold, Odette, Cephus and other relatives who cannot seem to get along. And still Regina believes her quest for the family she never had will succeed.
In the midst is Maude trying to straighten out her life when the man she left two years ago agrees to visit Pop. Maude has all kinds of excuses as to why they shouldn’t be together. And Johann has just as many as to why they should have never parted. The friction is still there and they still want each other. But they can’t have everything their own way. Will they be able to compromise?
Meanwhile Justin has decided it is time to settle down and marry. He has chosen Regina but she is more worried about finding her family than finding a husband. But if Regina’s desire to find herself within the scope of her family is not enough, enter in a mystery that just needs to be solved. Although Juliet Smith is portrayed as a meanspirited woman looking out only for herself, she is also struggling to find herself among her numerous uncommunicative relatives. Yet when Regina meets Juliet, both are stunned at their likeness of one another. And while Pop and Maude insist to let sleeping dogs lie, neither can do that. Yet what will happen when the truth is told?
Forster’s characters could have come from any walk of life. The story would have still been totally believable. The reason is because everyone, regardless of race, strives to be more than just another face in the crowd. It seems though that African-Americans have struggled the most within this country to gain the right to be more than just another worker in the field of their choice. Harold and Maude, while the background and personality seem to clash with present day, use their talent to express the loneliness felt inside. These and other personalities stand out among the rest as identifying trademarks readers can relate to within their own family units. Of course, Regina and Justin simply can’t find a middle ground until the plot shifts into a quicker pace. And even then, Regina throws up roadblocks. Ironically this fits in with Maude’s behavior toward her own husband.
The nuances of the deep South can be difficult to comprehend and understand for those who have lived their lives up North. It’s a pleasure to read books that show culture differences within our own country. As a unique piece of heritage, Forster tightly weaves a pattern of intricate detail focused on the African-American community. BLUES FROM DOWN DEEP is a true winner.
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