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River, Cross My Heart
The acclaimed bestseller — a selection of Oprah’s Book Club — that brings vividly to life the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, DC, circa 1925, and a community reeling from a young girl’s tragic death.
When five-year-old Clara Bynum drowns in the Potomac River under a seemingly haunted rock outcropping known locally as the Three Sisters, the community must reconcile themselves to the bitter tragedy.
Clarke powerful charts the fallout from Clara’s death 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; the friends and relatives of the Bynum family in the Georgetown neighborhood they now call home; and, most especially, Clara’s sister, ten-year-old Johnnie Mae, who is thrust into adolescence and must come to terms with the terrible and confused emotions stirred by her sister’s death.
This highly accomplished debut novel reverberates with ideas, impassioned lyricism, and poignant historical detail as it captures an essential and moving portrait of the Washington, DC community.
"A compelling novel...Clarke brings to life a whole neighborhood of vivid personalities."—USA Today
"A sweet read...sweet like homemade ice cream from a hand-cranked machine, and just as rich."—Holly Bass, Washington Post Book World
"A genuine masterpiece...full of grace and beauty and profound insights...It bears traces of Eudora Welty's charm and Toni Morrison's passion."—Michael Shelden, Baltimore Sun
"A warm, graceful first novel...with a host of well-drawn and appealing characters...Clarke brings an affectionate eye and beautifully restrained prose to her fictional archaeology."—John Perry, San Francisco Chronicle
"Seldom do I find a novel that I can recommend to everyone...I'm delighted to say that River, Cross My Heart fills the bill."—Sandra Scofield, Chicago Tribune