Synopses & Reviews
The critically acclaimed author of Black Ice, Pride,
and The Price of a Child
offers this deeply moving story of a familys challenge to reunite, understand the truth about its past, and secure its legacy.
Called a “well-paced, entertaining novel woven of many strands” by Kirkus Reviews and “a powerful take on family, history” by The Philadelphia Tribune, Lorene Carys brilliantly rendered tour de force explores the enduring bonds of blood, love, and the haunting consequences of the past. If Sons, Then Heirs sheds light on the largely untold story of African-American land ownership and racial hatred as seen through the eyes of the Needham family, whose members migrate north from South Carolina following the violent death of their patriarch, King. His devoted widow remains on the old home place to raise the children, but the responsibility to bring the family back together and save the land ultimately falls on Kings great-grandson, Rayne. Carys vividly drawn characters face challenges that mirror the experiences of families everywhere, but their distinct and unique voices will stay with readers forever.
“Every single character pops off the page in this amazing story. This masterwork of a novel made me laugh and cry out loud. Important, enjoyable, and wonderfully moving. An absolute delight.”
--Carleen Brice, author of Orange Mint and Honey and Children of the Waters
“Engaging. . . . Cary creates characters with such full-bodied life that their predicaments remain vivid.” —The New York Times Book Review
“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.
About the Author
Lorene Cary is the author of Black Ice, The Price of a Child, Pride, and a book for young readers, Free! Great Escapes on the Underground Railroad. She is the founder and director of Art Sanctuary (<>), a nonprofit lecture and performance series in Philadelphia. Cary is also a senior lecturer in creative writing at the University of Pennsylvania. She’s a past recipient of the Philadelphia Award, the city's highest civic honor. Cary lives in Philadelphia. She and her husband, the Reverend Robert C. Smith, have two daughters, Laura and Zoë. For more information visit her website at <>.