The Darkest Child
Delores Phillips

Selected for the Waterstone's Discovers Campaign 2006

'I loved her with all my heart, but if she did not die by Monday morning, I was determined to discover from the pages of my schoolbooks, how to break the chains that bound me to my mother...'

‘Filled with grand plot events and clearly identifiable villains and victims . . . lush with detail and captivating with its story of racial tension and family violence.’ Washington Post Book World

Rozelle Quinn is so fair-skinned that she can pass for white. Her ten children are mostly light, too. Everyone in her small Georgia town knows that they all have different fathers. She favours her light children, but it is Tangy Mae, the darkest of them all, who is the brightest and the only one desperate to get an education. But her mother has other plans for her. She wants thirteen-year-old Tangy Mae to take over her jobs: spending her days cleaning houses for whites, and nights servicing men, black and white, at the infamous ‘Farmhouse’.

Rozelle’s children are the only thing in her life she has control over, and she is not a woman whose commands can be easily ignored. She is a creature of moods, possessive of all her children, demanding of them complete loyalty and obedience.

The Darkest Child shows us a world misshapen by years of oppression in which family is powerful yet offers little kindness or comfort. It shows a world in which attitudes of prejudice have been adopted by its victims. The struggle for those with darker skin, like Tangy Mae, has become not only against outsiders, but against their own kin.

Delores Phillips was born in Georgia. She is a graduate of Cleveland State University and works as a nurse in a facility for abused women and children in Cleveland. This is her first novel.

'Delores Phillips' assured debut offers a unique vision of a black family in the Deep South. Fans of Beloved or The Color Purple will find resonance in this finely constructed novel, which pulls no punches in its portrayal of racism, a dysfunctional family and a child desperate to survive.' QPD REVIEW MAGAZINE

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Price: £9.99
Format: Paperback Original
ISBN: 0-7145-3114-6
Publication: July 2005