BOOK REVIEW: 'A Family Affair' by ReShonda Tate Billingsley
Terri Schlichenmeyer | 7/31/2013, 3 p.m.
c.2013, Gallery Books
The first time he laid eyes on her, your father thought your mother was the most beautiful girl in the world.
She thought he was a pain in the neck, all gangly with legs going this way and that, asking her out until she couldn’t say anything but “yes.” It didn’t take long for her to realize, though, that she couldn’t lay her hands on a better man.
You know the story of how your parents fell in love, but there are a lot of things you don’t know about them. And in the new book, “A Family Affair” by ReShonda Tate Billingsley, finding out could be a painful thing.
Olivia Dawson never wanted much.
Since she was a child, she dreamed of going to Juilliard but she knew that was out of reach now. Her mother, Lorraine, was already working multiple jobs to keep a roof over their heads. Olivia hadn’t had a new pair of shoes in ages. Even with a scholarship, Julliard just wasn’t in the budget.
But Lorraine knew where to get the money. Without telling Olivia where she was going, Lorraine rushed out the door of their apartment…
And never came home. Lorraine had a fatal heart attack – but her last words to Olivia gave the young woman quite a start. Despite everything Olivia thought she knew, and despite that her Aunt Betty was reluctant to confirm it, Olivia’s father was alive and living in California!
Bernard Wells was stuck.
Years ago, he’d given up love for money and he’d regretted it for more than 20 years. His wife, Adele, was a shrew with no compassion but lots of cash; she was nothing like the woman he lost, the woman he thought about every day. His lovely mistress, Alyssa, couldn’t give him comfort. He couldn’t very well get a divorce. Bernard was stuck in a life he wished he’d never had.
Everyone assumed that Kendall Wells would take over the family business someday. It was his birthright, really, but there was one problem: Kendall didn’t want it. No, he had other dreams of producing music and singing.
He also had memories of a nanny who loved him like a son. Memories of a sweet little girl he called Pinky. Memories of hugs, kisses, and bedtime stories, but no idea why they disappeared…
Though it’s a little predictable, “A Family Affair” isn’t too bad.
Author ReShonda Tate Billingsley offers readers a bit of scandalous drama mixed in a story of forgiveness that spans over time. That goodness is wrapped in a cast of mostly-likeable characters and scenarios that aren’t too far-fetched for comfort. There’s a chaste bedroom scene or two here, but I think you’ll be happy to know that this novel is mostly on the tamer side, so you can Book Club it without worry.
If you’re looking for something a little gentler, maybe something more genteel but not too mild, then I think this is your book. “A Family Affair” may be the perfect novel to lay your eyes on this weekend.