Children of Secrets

Children of Secrets

by Duncan Lander Duncan
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Children of Secrets by Duncan Lander Duncan

In his extravagantly intimate autobiographical novel, Lander Duncan reconstructs the heart shattering images and remembrances of the dark, violent, and incoherent first two decades of his life. PROMISES Seduced by CJ, a sleek-framed Tuskegee cadet, the mixed-race diabolically beautiful Abigail, who is the fifteen-year-old daughter of the dean of faculty, sets this novel in motion when she becomes pregnant. With a reluctant agreement from her father, Abigail marries CJ and defiantly departs for his family farm in the Arkansas Delta. CJ reports for active duty to a segregated Ft. Huachuca in Arizona. As a powerful chronicle of a time, the novel's sobering historical backdrop is dramatically revealed through Abigail's culture collisions and misadventures intersecting with the harsh,
alienating, and unpredictable Delta life and the racial indignities and clashes that CJ confronts while commanding a combat anti-demolition company in Europe. SECRETS After returning home a war hero, humiliation and bitterness eat away at CJ who must take a demeaning job as a railroad Red Cap to support his family. CJ's offer of a steadying hand to a white woman who stumbles as she gets off a train turns into an incident that produces a night of horror. The lives and fate of the Duncan family are forever changed. Exiled to a small, racially divided Pennsylvania town, Abigail,
emotionally damaged by the ordeal, compels Lander and his brothers to promise never to reveal anything about their frightening past. Abigail's habit of hiding things-even losses, disappointments, humiliations, and racial identity-becomes a great burden that keeps her sons' lives in upheaval. CONFESSIONS Abandoned by his mother and estranged for more than a decade from his family, Lander is summoned home for the last few days of Abigail's life. Past informs present, and present recasts past; the brothers exchange stories that trace the vast emotional terrain of havoc their mother so thoughtlessly wrecked, the sense of confusion that shifted beneath their feet, the doors of self-perception that slammed in their face. They want desperately to love Abigail in all her flawed, outrageous humanity and find an opportunity to forgive the felonies she committed against them. A memorable cast emerges in poignant and too few moments of triumph. Sifting through Abigail's possessions, an undated letter is discovered that produces a damning and destructive secret.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781440183515
Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date: 04/27/2010
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Lander Duncan recently retired from a forty-year academic and research science career. He and his wife, Nancy, live in Naples, Florida, and are presently collaborating on several writing projects.

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Children of Secrets: A Novel 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
RetiredEducator More than 1 year ago
Children of Secrets is a phenomenal read that takes you back to another time and place. The Deep South in the 1940's You can touch and smell the scenery. Children of Secrets is a powerful display of the human spirit. Promises, secrets and confessions set the stage for a mix of emotions. The Duncan family is intriguing and complex. Duncan writes with candor and emotion and certainly captures the spirit of his mother, Abigail. Abigail was a woman who didn't let life get in her way, she just changed directions,but never gave up. Getting to know Abigail gives you an insight into why her sons are all survivors that are thriving today. I am absolutely in awe of Lander and what he's become despite where he's been. Lander Duncan is an incredible gifted writer who evokes emotions. He is a master of words. I highly recommend this heartfelt and honest book that definitely left me wanting more.
Barelyblack More than 1 year ago
Children of Secrets is a heart-rendering autobiographical novel that captured me immediately. Lander Duncan writes brilliantly, captivating you with the dark and detailed memories of his youth. This book really gets under your skin. I truly enjoyed it, and hope we get to read more of this talented writer's work.
Single-Parent-Home More than 1 year ago
I've always been fascinated with the personal and historical tales of families that built the United States. A friend of mine recommended Children of Secrets - an autobiographical novel set in the backdrop of the Deep South in the 1940's. I didn't expect Children of Secrets to strike such a nerve as the life of the heroine, Abigail, is scrutinized, dissected and judged. And, as a twenty-something, white, single mother, certainly would not have expected to identify so closely with the pride and fears of a black woman who died twelve years before I was born. Children of Secrets is a vivid recollection of the dark, violent childhood years that shaped the lives of Abigail and her three sons. Why would this book strike so close to home? Throughout much of the story, Abigail raises her three boys as a single mother, a theme often visited at Seduced by a Tuskegee cadet, the 15 year old Abigail pays the ultimate price for choosing to raise her child with the man she fell in love with. Shortly after she moves in with CJ, the father of their child reports for active duty and is stationed miles away. Abigail is forced to restart a life in a new town, where she faces many cultural collisions as she goes through pregnancy and child rearing on her own - save a few brief visits from CJ before shipping off to World War 1. While training and serving his country, CJ missed the birth of all three of his children. Upon returning home, dealing with depression, humiliation and bitterness, CJ is detached from the family that blossomed in his absence. The ultimate tragedy strikes as CJ is targeted and killed by the Ku Klux Klan and Abigail barely escapes the torturous night with her life, her children and a few small mementos of her life. After suffering a series of breakdowns and living with her own demons, Abigail raised her children in the best way that she could; leaving the world wishing she had 'loved them better.' How would her children turn out, living with the secrets of their youth? I admire Abigail's actions that often brought embarrassment to her sons. There is no doubt that her sacrifices, her pride, her work ethic, her passion - all contributed to the success of all of her boys who have since made their mark on the world as a heart surgeon, academic, research scientist, small business owner and finally author. Children of Secrets is a captivating autobiographical novel, with such a unique cast of characters that is all too familiar and extraordinary. some who could be sitting across the dining table at your next family reunion. I would highly recommend that you read Children of Secrets and watch intently for the remaining books in this trilogy.