Atmosphere

The Truth Heals

Carleen Brice's sophomore novel is an insightful take on society's lingering hang-ups with race.

August 2009

With a discerning grasp of blurred racial lines and families that defy definition, Denver author Carleen Brice has penned a story that boldly dissects the shortcomings, and ultimately the strength, of the human psyche. Children of the Waters (One World), Brice's follow-up novel to her successful fiction debut, Orange Mint and Honey, is a tale that explores racial identity and family acceptance through two grown sisters, Trish and Billie, who, previously unaware of the other's existence, become integral to each other's lives.

Trish is a newly divorced mom raising a teenage son; Billie is struggling with the autoimmune disease lupus, a pregnancy out of wedlock, and relationship problems with the father of her unborn child. When Trish discovers a painful family secret that reveals their sisterhood—the two shared a mother who died of a drug overdose shortly after Billie was born—their respective lives begin to unravel. As they learn to accept the terrible act that drove them to their separate lives, the guilt, doubt, and confusion that mars their relationship slowly dissolves. Adjusting to their shifted identities, the women—and their families—begin to lean on each other.

With a direct, sometimes gritty dialogue, Brice has a way of endearing her realistically quirky characters to the reader. Through a narrative peppered with familiar Denver haunts—City Park, LoDo, even WaterCourse Foods—she delivers a story that will resonate with locals not just because of its setting, but also because of its naked portrayal of imperfect people trying to find their place in a complicated world.