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 contract 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.
Babylon Sisters, Cleage's fourth novel, is a story of secrets, choices, and consequences. For more than 17 years, Catherine Sanderson has not revealed the identity of her daughter's father and has kept the child's existence hidden from him. However, the universe, teenage curiosity, and two new work assignments conspire to put Catherine's past and present on a collision course. The plot is spun around a tale of women's empowerment, modern-day slavery, betrayal, and the survival of African American community institutions. This book, like Some Things I Never Thought I'd Do, is set in Atlanta and ties up the loose ends from the previous novel, but it is not a sequel. Cleage's background in the theater serves her well in this production; her narration is flawless. Few authors who record their work display the confidence and comfort apparent in her delivery. Recommended for all public libraries.-Gwendolyn Osborne, Evanston, IL Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Cleage (Some Things I Never Thought I'd Do, 2003, etc.) returns to Atlanta's West End in this comedy-tinged thriller. Catherine "Cat" Sanderson is one of many empowered single mothers living in the district. Her consulting business, Babylon Sisters, is thriving, and her teenaged daughter, Phoebe, is off to private boarding school for her senior year. So far, Cat has managed to deflect Phoebe's insistent questions about her father by planting imagined lovers with real names in college-era diaries concocted to throw Phoebe off the scent. But this scheme backfires when Phoebe demands DNA tests from all the red herrings. Meanwhile, Cat has been recruited by the dulcet-voiced Sam Hall to work for Ezola Mandeville, once a maid, now a maid-service mogul whose company somehow makes a profit while managing to raise the domestic workers it employs out of poverty. Ezola wants to expand her operation to include immigrant and refugee women, a cause Cat embraces because her friend Amelia, a successful lawyer and lap-swimmer, has called on her to help Miriam, a Haitian exile whose sister Etienne has been abducted into sex slavery. But Sam's "greed-is-good" cynicism has aroused Cat's suspicions, and her life is further unsettled by the reappearance of Phoebe's father, renowned foreign correspondent Burghardt Johnson ("B.J."). Eighteen years before, B.J. left Cat on the eve of her abortion that never was. Now, he's lending by-line cachet to the Sentinel, a historic African-American paper fallen on hard times. The editor and founder's son, Louis, is Cat's best childhood friend and Phoebe's godfather. The Sentinel launches a series of exposes of a sinister syndicate trafficking in illegal aliens forcut-rate big box cleaning contracts and forced prostitution. B.J.'s investigation links Sam to the slumlord who houses the immigrants, and an attempt to enlist Ezola's aid proves disastrous when Cat learns, too late, that Mandeville Maid Services really is too good to be true. Witty and glib, with a cliffhanger ending that seems contrived.
Praise for Pearl Cleage and Babylon Sisters
“Pearl Cleage’s wonderful new novel, Babylon Sisters, shows a writer at the top of her game, managing to weave together the eternal dance of mothers and daughters, a timeless love story, rich friendships, and international politics into a fast-paced Atlanta saga with an unforgettable villain and a thrilling climax that leave us cheering. Pearl has once again given us a book filled with folks who are so real, we think we know them, or wish we did.”
–e. lynn harris, author of Since I Lost My Baby
“Babylon Sisters’ funny, feminine, fabulous voice sings a story of history, family, love and redemption. Cleage’s ability to make the personal political and the political personal triumphs once again! Nestled in this beautifully written ode to love–of child, friends, men, and self –is a call to political activism and empowerment.”
–Jill Nelson, author of Sexual Healing
“You’ll love this savvy love story in which Pearl Cleage returns to Atlanta and the West End community and nails it! Cleage knows her city. She knows her community. She knows her people. Pearl Cleage knows her stuff!”
–Tina McElroy Ansa, author of You Know Better and The Hand I Fan With
“Babylon Sisters is a delectable feast! Pearl Cleage’s people are my people. Their world of problems is complex and radiant, covering a wide spectrum of contemporary political and cultural issues. Cleage writes with the intelligence of a master storyteller and her underlying humor keeps our spirits high. Like flower petals swept into the sky by a warm wind, Babylon Sisters carried me away from all worries, reminding me that great writing changes your life.”
–Deborah Santana, author of Space Between the Stars
“Cleage writes with amazing grace and killer instinct.”
–The New York Times