Catherine Sanderson seems to have it all: a fulfilling career helping immigrant women find jobs, a lovely home, and a beautiful, intelligent daughter on her way to Smith College. What Catherine doesn't have: a father for her child- and she's spent many years dodging her daughter's questions about it. Now Phoebe is old enough to start poking around on her own. It doesn't help matters that the mystery man, B.J. Johnson-the only man Catherine has ever loved-doesn't even know about Phoebe. He's been living in Africa.
Catherine Cat Sanderson has a pretty nice life: she likes her consulting business (Babylon Sisters) and her neighborhood (Atlanta's West End), and she's got lovely friends and an absolute peach of a daughter (Phoebe). But said nice life gets complicated when Phoebe takes dramatic steps to find out the identity of her father, which Cat has been lying about for years. Also causing headaches: the sudden, unrelated reappearance of Phoebe's actual father, B.J. (who never knew Phoebe existed and who was, for Cat, the only operatic moment in my otherwise pretty routine life), and Cat's new ontract with African-American entrepreneur and battle-axe Ezola Mandeville, who runs an eponymous maid service that's highly praised for its generous support of its workers. Of course Sam Hall, Ezola's sexy right-hand man, confides, We're not really here to... uplift the race. We're really here to make money. And how they're making that money is a lot worse than one would think. Cleage's (Some Things I Never Thought I'd Do) intelligent, lively narrative hits numerous notes domestic drama, romance, thriller right in tune. Agent, Denise Stinson. (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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March 28, 2005
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Excerpt from Babylon Sisters by Pearl Cleage
My daughter is upstairs weeping. She ' s been up there in her room for three days, six hours, and thirty-two minutes, weeping. For three days, five hours, and forty-one minutes, I indulged her. A broken heart may not be as visible as chicken pox but the scars are just as bad. So I listened and I commiserated and I clucked sympathetically while she examined and reexamined every detail of her first love ' s betrayal. I took her meals upstairs on a tray, made tea to soothe her nerves and mine, and resisted every opportunity to say, ' Phoebe, my darling, I told you he wasn ' t for you in the first place. ' The last thing you need in the throes of first heartbreak, when you ' re still not sure you ' ll survive it, is to hear the absolute, unvarnished truth spoken for the second time by your mother, who first uttered the words when you brought the young, betraying fool home and confessed, Oh, Mama, I think he ' s the one!
He was never the one. He was handsome and interesting and sexy and as serious as she was about saving the world by next Tuesday at the very latest. He was also way too full of the blazing sexual energy of his emerging manhood to be anybody ' s one for very long. But at seventeen, how was she supposed to know She handed him her heart, and everything else that wasn ' t tied down, and they were inseparable from October of her junior year until June, when they had to go their separate ways for the summer. She was determined not to let distance destroy their relationship, but once they were apart he seemed to be drifting away from her, and neither one knew what to do about it. After a summer of long-distance spats and tearful reconciliations, he confessed via a long e-mail that he had fallen in love with someone else and closed with a wish that they could always be friends.