Announced October 14, 1999
About the Book
A remarkable new writer makes her debut with a novel of tragedy and triumph in the life of an African American family in Georgetown, circa 1925.
Eight-year-old Clara Bynum is dead, drowned in the Potomac River in the shadow of an apparently haunted rock outcropping known locally as the Three Sisters. In scenes alive with emotional truth, River, Cross My Heart weighs the effect of Clara's absence on the people she has left behind: her parents, Alice and Willie Bynum, torn between the old world of their rural North Carolina home and the new world of the city to which they have moved in search of a better life for themselves and their children; the friends and relatives of the Bynum family in the Georgetown neighborhood they now call home; and, most especially, Clara's sister, twelve-year-old Johnnie Mae, who must come to terms with the powerful and confused emotions sparked by her sister's death as she struggles to decide and discover the kind of woman she will become.
This highly accomplished first novel resonates with ideas, impassioned lyricism, and poignant historical detail as it captures an essential part of the African-American experience in our century.