MAMA DEAREST by E. Lynn Harris


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Delicious diva Yancey Harrington Braxton’s grand scheme to make her showbiz comeback is complicated by her newly sprung jailbird mother—and a painful secret from the past.

Her career trajectory cooling off, actress/singer Yancey finds herself in Miami starring in a production of Dreamgirls, a gig that offers her a steady paycheck but nowhere near the adulation to which she feels entitled. Acutely aware that she is not getting any younger and contemplating selling the pricey New York City townhouse she can no longer afford, Yancey sees her luck improving when she meets oh-so-fine S. Marcus Pinkston outside a Miami club. Great in bed and loaded (he drives an Aston Martin, no less), S. Marcus certainly seems to be smitten with his new lady and even offers to boost her back on top by getting Yancey her own reality-show deal. Sweet! But while that is being worked out, and unbeknownst to Yancey, her mother Ava is released early from prison, where she was serving time for killing a man. A nasty piece of work who makes the self-centered Yancey seem like a kindergarten teacher, Ava claims she is eager to reconnect with her only child, but secretly plots revenge, blaming Yancey for ruining her life. She moves into her daughter’s house and enlists dimwitted fellow ex-con Lyrical and her drug-dealing thug boyfriend Donnie Ray to help with her plan. Meanwhile, Yancey learns that the daughter she gave up while in college has grown into teen singing sensation Madison B, a sweet girl raised well by Yancey’s ex. That Madison happens to be worth millions is not lost on Yancey, who tries to respect the girl’s privacy, while facing her many regrets. Madison aches for a mother’s love, but could she ever trust the woman who sat out the first 16 years of her life? Ava works her own angles, showing Yancey everything that a mother should not be.

This sequel to Not a Day Goes By (2000) delivers plenty of catty dish with a dash of sentimentality. Fans of Harris, who died in July, will lap it up.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4391-5890-6
Page count: 438pp
Publisher: Karen Hunter Publishing/Pocket
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2009


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