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To hear Beatrice Agnew tell it, she entered the world with her mouth tightly shut. Just because she finds out she’s dying doesn’t mean she can’t keep it that way. If any of her children have questions about their daddy and the choices she made after he abandoned them, they’d best take it up with Jesus. There’s no room in Granny B’s house for regrets or hand-holding. Or so she thinks.

Her granddaughter, Evelyn Lester, shows up on Beatrice’s doorstep anyway, burdened with her own secret baggage. Determined to help her Granny B mend fences with her far-flung brood, Evelyn turns her grandmother’s heart and home inside out. Evelyn’s meddling uncovers a tucked-away box of old letters, forcing the two women to wrestle with their past and present pain as they confront the truth Beatrice has worked a lifetime to hide.

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5.5 x 8.25 in.

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Starred review. Pearson’s excellent debut explores forgiveness and the burden of secrets. Helping Granny B repair her relationships and come to terms with the past gives Evelyn the strength to work on her own family. Pearson’s saga is enjoyable and uncomfortable, but also funny and persistent in the way that only family can be.

Beatrice Agnew has spent her life living for others. At 15, she became a mother, and then a single parent after her husband left her a few years later. Beatrice did what she had to do for her family to survive, relying mostly on the Lord and herself. So when she receives a devastating diagnosis and the news that she only has a few months to live, she decides that she will embrace death on her own terms. Part of that embracing is saying to her children what’s in her heart, so she calls on her granddaughter, Evelyn, to help write and deliver the letters. But with those letters is another, one that’s been a long time coming. Pearson delivers a poignant debut that explores the faith of one African American family. Though it is perhaps overlong, the writing is strong, and the story is engaging, and readers will be pleased to discover a new voice in southern inspirational fiction. Libraries with Christian-fiction collections will want to add this novel to their shelves.

A contemporary fiction masterpiece with well developed, realistic characters, and authentic dialog. . . . Do not miss this one.

Robin W. Pearson’s first novel, A Long Time Comin’, brings us to contemporary North Carolina, where Beatrice Agnew has just found out she is dying of cancer. Surprisingly, she’s not upset by the news. Life has always been terribly hard and unfair for Beatrice, so why be upset now? What does make her angry, however, is that her granddaughter, Evelyn, has come uninvited to help Beatrice mend fences with the rest of the family. Beatrice’s seven children might be successful now, but there was no room for love in the Agnew household while they were growing up poor and fatherless. Beatrice wants no part in this little reunion, because dealing with the past means digging up old secrets. She believes that her choices were forced by circumstances that her granddaughter could never understand. But Evelyn and Beatrice have more in common than they realize, as Evelyn is struggling with her own marriage and possible motherhood. Together, the two women confront pain and secrets and try to move on without any regrets.

Robin W. Pearson’s debut novel is a multi-faceted tale that will have readers turning it one way and another to get the best glimpses of its many lessons and messages. There are the mother-daughter relationships throughout as three generations of women struggle to come to terms with their lives and decisions. The novel moves back and forth in time as it reveals the layered secrets held tight by Granny B that have threatened her family and her own peace. The story also moves between characters and their stories, all blending to offer an entertaining and thought-provoking read. Readers will cry, laugh, sigh wistfully, and even rage a little at this moving story. A wonderful tale of love, family, secrets, relationships, and forgiveness that will teach us all how to live well in the midst of real life.

Robin W. Pearson delivers a fresh new voice for Southern fiction, treating readers to an inspiring journey through the complex matters of the heart.

My mouth watered at the mustard greens and ham hocks. Feels like home. You’ll fall in love with Evelyn and Granny B and a cast of memorable characters so rich you won’t want the story to end. We can only hope we’ll be reading more from Robin W. Pearson!

With a deft hand and an unflinching eye, Pearson tackles the cobwebby corners of her characters’ lives and in doing so reveals truths that ultimately help us all to heal . . . even when we’ve convinced ourselves we don’t need to.

A stunningly beautiful story. . . . The lyrical weaving of family narratives, past and present, is masterful—certainly to be compared with writers such as Sue Monk Kidd and Barbara Kingsolver. . . . Buy this book. It gripped me . . . from page one.

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