A HOUSE DIVIDED by Kimberla Lawson Roby


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The Black family is ecstatic: Son Matthew and his girlfriend, Racquel, are about to deliver the very first grandchild. But squabbling between the two grandmothers threatens to irrevocably divide the family.

The 10th in Roby’s (The Reverend’s Wife, 2012, etc.) series following the adventures of Rev. Curtis Black (a potentially reformed adulterous minister) focuses on his third wife. Unfortunately, Charlotte is an egocentric, paranoid, mean-spirited woman, which makes for an unpleasant reading experience. Jealous of Racquel’s mother, Vanessa, and her access to the baby even before it is born, Charlotte is determined to get her fair share of face time. She wants Curtis to baptize the child, even though Matthew and Racquel have decided upon Pastor Collins; she wants the child called Matthew the Second, even though Matthew and Racquel have chosen Matthew Jr.; she wants to plan his resume, even though Matthew and Racquel plan to give him a loving, accepting extended family. Vanessa tries to block Charlotte, bristling not only at her domineering behavior, but also at her husband’s obvious attraction to Charlotte. The two grandmothers’ animosity erupts into an altercation at the baby shower, which sends Racquel into premature labor and Vanessa into taking even higher-security measures. Charlotte responds by plotting vengeance. The baby does deserve a better mother, right? Meanwhile, Curtis has troubles of his own as mysterious, threatening messages arrive. Who’s trying to blackmail him? Who’s trying to destroy his financially lucrative Deliverance Outreach church? Burdened with stiff exposition—summarizing both Charlotte’s and Curtis’ many transgressions—and flat dialogue, Roby’s tale plods along, punctuated with occasional outbursts of excitement.

A soap opera filled with people indulging in bad behavior. Fans of the Black family’s misplaced haloes will love this latest installment.

Pub Date: May 7th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-455-52606-2
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2013


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