A debut novel about the joys and challenges of interracial relationships.
Frank Ellis, a handsome, charismatic African-American man from Washington, D.C., has a successful public-speaking career. At a conference, he meets Delilah Carpenter, a beautiful white woman from Savannah, Ga. Their mutual interest swiftly develops into love, but Delilah is hesitant to tell her family about Frank because he’s black. Delilah’s sister, Clementine, laughs at the idea that Frank’s race would bother her, and her mother is nervous and polite. Delilah’s father, however, shows unabashed animosity toward Frank at a family cookout. “Look, I just don’t believe in race mixing,” he tells Delilah. Frank, on the other hand, has no family, although he makes infrequent visits to his mother’s grave. Frank’s best friend, Andy, is a white man whose black girlfriend (and future wife), Twyla, is hesitant to have his baby, admitting, “I don’t know if I could handle the way society still acts toward mixed-race children.” Beverly provides rich, clever dialogue, including candid conversations about racial identity. The banter between Frank and Andy is especially warm and affectionate, portraying the friends’ love and respect for each other. Frank and Delilah share numerous idyllic weekends together, and although the descriptions of these romantic days are vivid, they occasionally slow down the story. For the most part, the relationships here are blissful, with conflict appearing only in brief flashes, as when Frank contracts pneumonia, Delilah’s boss harasses her or characters are tempted to stray from their loved ones.
An entertaining romance that ably tackles thorny cultural issues.