“An absorbing and moving tale” (Publishers Weekly)—a uniquely American story of the consequences of past decisions on present realities.
After World War II, the Needham family moved north to Philadelphia from South Carolina, leaving behind the tragic injustice surrounding the violent death of their patriarch, King. His devoted widow, Selma, remains on the old home place. Over the years, she raises King’s children, including his great-grandson, Rayne, on whom falls the responsibility of bringing the family together, saving the family land, and mending the rift with his mother.
If Sons, Then Heirs is a tour de force that explores the power of family secrets, bonds, and love. Rayne and the other characters face challenges big and small that mirror the experiences of families everywhere. But in the masterful storytelling of Lorene Cary, their voices are so distinct and unique that they will live in the minds of readers long after the last page is read.
Cary tells a complex story of family, race, and the challenges of reconciling the present with a persistent past. Alonzo Rayne was raised in South Carolina by his great-grandmother, Selma. Now he owns a construction business in Philadelphia and lives with Lillie, a single mom, and her seven-year-old son, Khalil. As the story begins, Khalil accompanies Alonzo to South Carolina where Alonzo urges the aging Selma to sell her land so they can pay for her long-term care. But she hasn't owned the land since King, her husband, died almost 50 years ago; Selma was King's second wife, not an heir, and this unforeseen fact, combined with ancient, racist inheritance laws, makes for a sticky situation. And Alonzo's mother suddenly wanting to reconnect after years of abandonment further complicates matters; her marriage to the white man she met after abandoning her son turned her life around. Finally, Alonzo's investigation into his great-grandmother's land puts him on a collision course with the men who brought about his great-grandfather's violent end. Cary (Black Ice) pairs generations of loving, and loyal individuals with social history, making for an absorbing and moving tale.