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River, Cross My Heart
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River, Cross My Heart

3.47  ·  Rating details ·  12,108 Ratings  ·  272 Reviews
The Barnes & Noble Review

For new arrivals Johnnie Mae and her kid sister Clara, the Potomac is a seductive force. Wide and deceptively calm, the river attracts many visitors to its verdant banks. But beneath the benign surface, powerful currents carry the waters past all, colored and white, penitent and power broker. And, in Breena Clarke's River, Cross My Heart, the
Audio Cassette, 8 pages
Published January 1st 2000 by Hachette Audio (first published July 1st 1999)
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Nov 19, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jamila
The first thing to know about this book is that it basically has no plot -- it's more a series of loosely connected vignettes that, when taken as whole, combine to give the reader an impression of African-American life in the 1920s in a particular neighborhood in Washington, D.C. So, while the book does open with a beautifully rendered chapter in which the 12-year-old protagonist's sister drowns in the Potomac river, that tragedy doesn't lead to the kind of linear story with clear resolution man ...more
Jan 24, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I almost gave River, Cross My Heart one star, but decided that since I actually bothered to finish it, it deserved more than that.

The book is about the impact of a little girl's drowning on her family, notably her big sister. It's a bit like a coming of age story, we follow the big sister through her preteen years and see how the family deals with the loss of their youngest daughter as well as the surviving daughter's changing ways.

The idea seemed like it could work, but the lack of dialogue ma
Dec 22, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
although the setting was intriguing and I learned some things about the history and culture of the time, the writing was so mediocre, I didn't even finish this one...
Lucinda Porter
Aug 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an incredible book. Beautiful story-telling and deftly written. If you liked "The Help" or "The Secret Life of Bees" you will probably like this.
Feb 17, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: realistic, prose
I really, really, really, really wished the whole damn book was like its first chapter, its beautiful and haunting first chapter. It feels as though the whole story isn't coherent, I mean after a while it becomes fairly obvious that it is a story about the community and it doesn't actually have a plot of some sort but still, it still couldn't been great if it had focused on the characters more.

It didn't need to have a plot. Plot isn't necessary for a great novel. However, the community aspec
I just couldn't get into River Cross My Heart. The story opens with the tragic death of a young girl, and the following plot always comes back to that scene, and how a family and neighborhood are changed because of the death. I don't know if it is because the reader doesn't know the character that passes away, but because there were so few details I couldn't sympathize with any of the characters, but rather felt that I was reading the news.

Breena Clarke writes beautifully about 1920's Georgetow
Keyshia Dorsey
Sep 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i read a few reviews were people were saying the story has no plot, and i guess thats true. it was like i had a glimpse into someones (mostly Johnnie Mae) life. it was a trip and i enjoyed the journey. i find my self wanting to know how johnnie mae turned out as a full adult, did she go to schoool, are her and Pearl still friends. How did her brother turn out? it was a good read i enjoyed it a lot.
Apr 29, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a good book. The lives of the characters were illuminating but at times the characters seemed only partially formed. That didn't detract from the telling of the story, just left me wanting more.
Sep 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is really a great book. I actually picked it up while strolling through the flea market one Saturday morning. I enjoyed it so much, I plan on reading it again.
Dec 20, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hard to stay with at firsrt. Then it was a page turner. Ending, I didn't get.
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Breena Clarke's third novel, ANGELS MAKE THEIR HOPE HERE, will be published in July, 2014. Breena is the author of two historical novels set in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Her debut novel, RIVER, CROSS MY HEART (1999) was an October 1999 Oprah Book Club selection. Clarke’s critically reviewed second novel, STAND THE STORM is set in mid-19th century Washington, D.C. and was cho ...more
More about Breena Clarke...
“Only a teaspoon of self-pity, girl. Every day give yourself a teaspoonful, but only a teaspoonful. Fill it up full, but only once! Don’t let yourself have more. You can’t live off it. But just a bit of it is like a tonic.” 9 likes
“But comes a time for a woman when she stops thinking of herself as a girl, as a person of possibilities. She starts looking at the plain facts of herself. Her body that’s become the body that she has and her habits becoming the habits that she’s written in stone. Her “haves” being the ones she’s got and maybe not getting anymore.” 2 likes
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