When Regina Burns married Blue Hamilton, she knew he was no ordinary man. A charismatic R&B singer who gave up his career to assume responsibility for the safety of Atlanta's West End community, Blue had created an African American urban oasis where crime and violence were virtually nonexistent. In the beginning, Regina enjoyed a circle of engaging friends and her own work as a freelance communications consultant. Most of all, she relished the company of her husband, who never ceased to be a source of passion and delight.
Then everything changed. More and more frightened women were showing up in West End, seeking Blue's protection from lovers who had suddenly become violent. When the worst offenders begin to disappear without a trace, the signs-all of them grim-seem to point toward Blue and his longtime associate, Joseph "General" Richardson. Now that Regina is pregnant, her fear for Blue's safety has become an obsession that threatens the very heart of their relationship.
At the same time, Regina's friend Aretha Hargrove is desperately trying to redefine her own marriage. Aretha's husband, Kwame, is lobbying for them to leave West End and move to midtown. Aretha resists at first, but finally agrees in an effort to rekindle the flame that first brought them together.
Regina and Aretha have no way of knowing that what they regard as their private struggles will soon become very public. When Baby Brother, a charming con man, insinuates himself into the community, it becomes clear that there is more to his handsome fa?ade than meets the eye. He carries the seeds of change that will affect both women in profound and startling ways.
Returning to the vividly rendered Atlanta district of her last two novels, New York Times bestselling author Pearl Cleage brilliantly weaves the threads of her characters' intersecting lives into a story of family, friendship and, of course, love. Baby Brother's Blues is full of wit and warmth, illumination the core of every woman's hopes and dreams.
From the Hardcover edition.
Cleage (Babylon Sisters) continues chronicling the lives of the diverse community of Atlanta's West End inhabited by Regina and Blue Hamilton from Some Things I Never Thought I'd Do. As unofficial community leader, Blue takes a vigilante approach toward enforcing peace and safety that creates difficulties in his personal life. Blue's wife, Gina, has doubts about Blue's choice of career and is in continual fear for his safety, especially when Blue and General Richardson, his right-hand man, step in to resolve local problems of domestic violence. The catalyst for the ruination of several West End lives comes in the form of "Baby Brother" Jamerson, small-time thug and army deserter. Various political, social, and economic concerns arise as Cleage juggles story lines that creatively culminate in an eventful conclusion. Cleage is a popular African American and Oprah Book Club author; her latest is recommended for popular fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 12/05.]-Joy St. John, Henderson Dist. P.L., NV Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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1 . Great Story
Posted January 02, 2010 by Kita-Kita , IndianapolisThis book keeps you turning the pages
February 26, 2007
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Excerpt from Baby Brother's Blues by Pearl Cleage
Regina was waiting for Blue. To the untrained eye, she looked like any other attractive, energetic black woman in her midthirties, going about her normal Saturday tasks. She stopped at the drugstore for some mouthwash, bought fifty of the James Baldwin commemorative stamps at the post office, had a long lunch at the Soul Vegetarian restaurant. Adrift in an afternoon of waiting, Regina was looking for something, anything, to distract her from counting the hours as they passed at their usual speed, although she could have sworn they were barely crawling by.
It had started last night. As she watched her husband pull on his black cashmere coat and reach for his perfectly blocked homburg, she was suddenly afraid of where he was going and what he might do when he got there.
"Blue," she said softly, "I don't think I can do this anymore."
Her timing was terrible. He had already uttered the phrase that served as their signal to announce the always surreal moment when her husband left their house, got into a big, black Lincoln with General Richardson, and disappeared into the night. What he did in these moments he did without the sanction of anyone or anything, other than his absolute confidence in the accuracy of his own moral compass and the trust and permission of the people who protected him with their loyalty, their gratitude, and their silence.
Her words floated there between them. Blue, his hand already on the doorknob, stopped to look at her standing nervously in the darkened hallway. Even in the low light, she could see his eyes gleaming, blue as a clear mountain stream, fathoms deep and ancient. She shivered. After two years of marriage, the always unexpected color of her husband's otherworldly eyes still surprised her, twinkling like sapphires in his dark brown face.
Although he had his mother's high cheekbones and his father's lean, compact physique, Blue was the only one in his family with those eyes. Speculation about where they came from had poisoned his father against his mother, although she was innocent of any infidelity. Many years later, after her aunt Abbie predicted correctly that Regina would come to Atlanta and fall in love with a man "who had the ocean in his eyes," Blue confirmed Abbie's theory that his eyes were a way to be sure that in this lifetime, unlike the last two when they had missed each other by a hair, Regina couldn't walk past him without noticing. This time around, that would have been impossible.
At this moment, her husband's blue eyes were dark pools, magical and mysterious, full of questions she had to answer.
"Can't do what, baby?" His voice was gentle, but she knew that General was already waiting for Blue out front. This was no time to talk.
Regina spread her arms wide, palms up, and looked at him helplessly. "This. You know, this."
His eyes softened a little, but he didn't come toward her. She felt time passing, but Blue seemed not to notice. She had never seen him become impatient and he didn't now. Regina, however, was increasingly uncomfortable. The idea startled her. She was never uncomfortable around Blue. How could she be? He knew her thoughts almost before she did. She had even accused him of mind reading once or twice, and he hadn't denied it. But she didn't want him to read her mind tonight. There were some things that deserved a moment all their own. A moment not already weighted down by midnight comings and going, and cars with tinted windows, and drivers who waited out front with the motor running.
"Sometimes I worry, that's all." She walked up to him and kissed his cheek softly. He smelled like citrus.
He smiled at her, his eyes now the turquoise of the Caribbean Sea on a perfect Jamaica day.
He put his arms around her and kissed her so long and slow and deep, she felt her knees tremble. "Don't worry," he said, putting on his hat and opening the door.
"Careful as I can." And he was gone.