Chesapeake Song

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Tamra Wells has loved Charles Lane since her early teens, and he has loved her. The only child of a school principal and his socially ambitious wife, Tamra didn't let love keep her from her goal to become a scientist. She went on to college and then to Paris where she worked for five years before returning home, a beautiful and worldly woman ready to marry Charles, a brilliant young man in a family that owns more land than any other African-American family in Nanticoke, Maryland. This passionate and elegantly ...
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1996-09-01 Mass Market Paperback Very Good Mass market (rack) paperback. Glued binding.

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1993 Paperback Grade: B Catalog: Fiction Adventure General Synopsis: Tamra and Charles Lane have known they were meant for each other ever since they were kids. But past hurts ... and doubts about the future have taken a t... Read more Show Less

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Overview

Tamra Wells has loved Charles Lane since her early teens, and he has loved her. The only child of a school principal and his socially ambitious wife, Tamra didn't let love keep her from her goal to become a scientist. She went on to college and then to Paris where she worked for five years before returning home, a beautiful and worldly woman ready to marry Charles, a brilliant young man in a family that owns more land than any other African-American family in Nanticoke, Maryland. This passionate and elegantly written novel is the story of a man and a woman who love each other and have everything except what they really want: a happy marriage. It is also the story of two families that are strong and loving, yet have their problems. Seth Wells, Tamra's father, is a respected school principal whose drinking habits create tension at home. The family stays together, but Tamra like many children of alcoholic parents, suppresses an anger that she can't verbalize. Charles's father, Harlen Lane, is a man of tradition who expects his sons to follow him, and Charles does, forsaking his own dreams of becoming a major league baseball player, to run the family farm. He takes on the task with a vengeance, determined to expand the modest business into a major agricultural complex. Two successful people raised in stable families, neither Charles nor Tamra see how closely they mirror the patterns of their parents' successes and failures. Despite their early - and continuing - passion over the thirteen years of their marriage they find themselves too often angry and resentful to see their own children frightened by the tensions of their otherwise comfortable household. Does their failure stem from Charles's relentless drive to succeed in business? Does it take its toll from a death in the family? Is a lecherous relative a contributing factor? Or is it all simply the let down of a college-educated woman who fears becoming "just a housewife"? Chesapeake Song is an uplifting reminde
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The mingled pain and joy of family life and the bonds between generations are the subjects of a leisurely narrative that is overwritten and diffuse at times, but rewards patient readers with moving insights. First-novelist Richardson begins her story in 1990, then interweaves episodes from the previous four decades as she considers the troubled marriage of Charles and Tamra Lane, as well as the lives of Tamra's parents, Seth and Virginia Wells. Seth is the principal of a black high school in Nanticoke, Maryland; another black family, the wealthy Lanes, own an 800-acre farm nearby. Charles and Tamra fall in love in college, but each has family issues to resolve. She bears emotional scars inflicted by her father's alcoholism and is determined to escape by becoming a geneticist and studying abroad; he dreams of building the Lane farm into an agricultural industrial complex. After a long courtship, they marry, and Tamra gives up her job as a laboratory researcher soon after she gives birth to twins. As Charles devotes more and more time to managing his land, relations between them become strained. She finally leaves with their children, an act that echoes her mother's actions 26 years earlier. Though it sometimes veers close to bathos, this thoughtful story offers forthright background detail about race relations while it illuminates the havoc caused by recurrent patterns of destructive behavior. (Nov.)
Library Journal
In her first novel, set in a scenic area of Maryland and featuring African American protagonists, Richardson deftly composes a lyrical work that is both rhapsodic and eloquent. A sweet serenade to enduring love everywhere, it opens with two passionate, intelligent, and strong people coming to a bittersweet interlude after 13 years of marriage. Richardson then relies on flashbacks to explain how Tamra and Charles Lane arrived at this crisis point. The story that unfolds is smart, funny, and poignant, offering perceptive social commentary on love, marriage, family obligations, careers, substance abuse, and life and death. The literate and lively prose vividly depicts a host of well-drawn characters. This novel belongs in all fiction collections, as well as those supporting African American history and concerns.-- An gela Washington-Blair, Texas Woman's Univ. SLIS, Denton
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786003044
  • Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 9/1/1996
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 480
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.85 (h) x 1.08 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    -written character study

    On the surface, Tamra and Charles Lane seem to be living the American lifestyle. They were childhood sweethearts in Maryland and in spite of different dreams for their future, are happily married. Yet after thirteen years of wedlock and having children, Tamra leaves her spouse, not an easy decision since she still loves him. <P>Tamra looks to her heritage to help her finalize her decision. She turns to her own mother Virginia who left her own spouse, a school administrator. Tamra also looks back at the family powerhouse her grandmother who kept everyone together while the world collapsed around their family. Still, Tamra needs to learn what she can from her immediate female antecedents while Charles struggles with why since he feels he has given her everything she wants. <P>CHESAPEAKE SONG is a well-written character study that centers on how the lessons of childhood impact the adult as family patterns and histories repeat itself in each generation. The story line employs flashbacks to provide insight into the relationship between Tamra¿s parents and the influence of her grandmother as well as how Tamra and Charles have reached a critical fork in the road. Though not paramount to the main theme, but an added bonus, the audience observes African-American relationships over the last four decades. Readers who want action need to go elsewhere, but anyone interested in family dynamics will enjoy the insightful debut of Brenda Lane Richardson. <P>Harriet Klausner

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