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CARLEEN BRICE received the 2009 First Novelist Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association for her debut novel Orange Mint and Honey, which was also a selection of the Essence Book Club. She is also the author of Walk Tall: Affirmations for People of Color, and Lead Me Home: An African American’s Guide Through the Grief Journey and edited the anthology Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife. She lives in Denver, Colorado, with her husband and two cats.
2nd most watched original movie in Lifetime Movie Network history
“…With great acting all around, including Mimi Rogers as Nona’s sponsor, this adaptation of Carleen Brice’s novel, Orange Mint and Honey is one dramatic powerhouse of a TV movie. It’d be a sin to miss it!“—NATIONAL ENQUIRER, Best Bets on TV
“The magnificent Jill Scott shines as a former mess of a mother struggling to make amends to the daughter she abused…“—TV GUIDE, Hot List
“The only thing No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency star Jill Scott is guilty of here is giving a powerful and moving performance…“—TV GUIDE, Highlights
“The familiar tale of the prodigal child gets a shot of fresh energy…“—New York Daily News
CHILDREN OF THE WATERS
One World/Ballantine – June 23, 2009
The author of the #1 Denver Post bestseller and Essence Book Club Pick Orange Mint and Honey explores the connection between love and race, and what it really means to be a family.
Trish Taylor’s white ancestry never got in the way of her love for her black ex-husband, or their mixed race son, Will. But when Trish’s marriage ends, she returns to her family’s Denver, Colorado home to find a sense of identity and connect to her past.
What she finds there shocks her to the very core: her mother and newborn sister were not killed in a car crash as she was told. In fact, her baby sister, Billie Cousins, is now a grown woman; her grandparents had put her up for adoption, unwilling to raise the child of a black man. Billie, who had no idea she was adopted, wants nothing to do with Trish until a tragedy in Billie’s own family forces her to lean on her surprisingly supportive and sympathetic sister. Together they unravel age-old layers of secrets and resentments and navigate a path toward love, healing, and true reconciliation.
Praise for CHILDREN OF THE WATERS
“In Children of the Waters, Carleen Brice manages to explore the difficult, messy and unpleasant details of life with both humor and wisdom. The parallel journeys of sisters, Trish and Billie, will resonate with everyone and anyone who has questioned their identity and place in this world. Once again, Carleen Brice has crafted a thoroughly enjoyable novel that gets at the heart of the human experience.“—Lori Tharps, author of Kinky Gazpacho
“I was exhausted and singing the blues the hour I began Carleen Brice’s new novel, Children of the Waters. Five hours later, I’d finished this fresh, free-rein novel about mothers’ secrets and children’s sorrows and was shouting ‘Hurray!‘”—Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean
“In Children of the Waters, Carleen Brice deftly explores issues of family, identity, and race with a wonderful abundance of humor, forgiveness, and grace. This moving story of two sisters separated by prejudice will open minds and touch hearts.”—Meg Waite Clayton, author of The Wednesday Sisters
“Carleen Brice highlights the effects of America’s complicated relationship with race and identity…a clear and insightful depiction of what it means to be American at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Brice knows how far we have come and how far there is left to go, and in Children of the Waters she deftly lays it all out for the reader to see.”—Matthew Aaron Goodman, author of Hold Love Strong
“A compelling read [that’s] difficult to put down.”—Booklist
“With Children of the Waters, Brice has a new hit….Fresh on the heels of her bestseller Orange Mint and Honey, Carleen Brice gives us more family melodrama that works.“—Essence
“With well developed characters and writing just right in tone and pace, Brice has really tackled the issue of race in a no nonsense manner.“—BrownGirl Speaks
“Carleen Brice writes with aplomb about love, mixed race and the importance of family…[she] is a fine storyteller.“—Black Voices
ORANGE MINT AND HONEY
One World/Ballantine – February 12, 2008
Lifetime optioned Orange Mint and Honey for a film for television called “Sins of the Mother” starring Jill Scott.
Broke and burned-out from grad school, Shay Dixon does the unthinkable after receiving a “vision” from her de facto spiritual adviser, blues singer Nina Simone. She phones Nona, the mother she had all but written off, asking if she can come home for a while.
When Shay was growing up, Nona was either drunk, hungover, or out with her latest low-life guy. So Shay barely recognizes the new Nona, now sober and with a positive outlook on life, a love of gardening, and a toddler named Sunny. Though reconciliation seems a hard proposition for Shay, something unmistakable is taking root inside her, waiting to blossom like the morning glories opening up in Nona’s garden sanctuary.
Soon Shay finds herself facing exciting possibilities and even her first real romantic relationship. But when an unexpected crisis hits, even the wise words and soulful melodies of Nina Simone may not be enough for solace. Shay begins to realize that, like orange mint and honey, sometimes life tastes better when bitter is followed by sweet.
Praise for ORANGE MINT AND HONEY
“This is the reason I love to read. This book has so much character and a wealth of soul.“—Alicia Keys
“Carleen Brice is a fine writer. I have recommended and will continue to recommend Orange Mint and Honey to others.“—Terry McMillan
“A wonderful, jazzy, exciting read.”—Nikki Giovanni, author of Acolytes
“Brice deftly shows the importance and joy of understanding our past and not only forgiving those who hurt us, but loving them in spite of that hurt. Readers of Terry McMillan and Bebe Moore Campbell will find a new writer to watch.”—Judy Merrill Larsen, author of All the Numbers
“Carleen Brice’s Orange Mint and Honey, a new novel about real mama drama, will have you hooked from page one. Taking on the fabled mother-daughter bond, the Denver author confidently strides onto terrain many lesser writers have tripped over—with winning results.“—Essence
“After several praised works of nonfiction, Colorado author Brice successfully moves to fiction with this bittersweet story featuring an engagingly wry, spirited narrator. Grade: A-.“—Rocky Mountain News
“A tale of unexpected forgiveness and reconciliation.”—5280 Magazine
“[An] accomplished debut…Brice’s straightforward prose is dead-on in describing the challenges Shay and her mother face as they reconnect.“—Publishers Weekly
“A poignant story.“—Ebony Magazine
“Mothers and daughters—the closest of bonds, the most loaded of relationships. Carleen Brice mixes in alcohol, abandonment and anger for a potent cocktail and a penetrating read.“—Donna Grant, co-author of Better Than I Know Myself
“Carleen Brice has crafted an open, sweet, realistic novel about a woman’s journey to find her own heart and home. Orange Mint and Honey is a keeper.“—Kris Radish, bestselling author of The Sunday List of Dreams
“Orange Mint and Honey is sweet fun—yet also a socially conscious page-turner about accountability and forgiveness. In this memorable story of a once-derelict mother and a profoundly wounded daughter, rage, sadness, and humor jump off the page and grip us to the end. Author Carleen Brice has woven her talent for story-telling into a funny, sad, and perceptive novel that speaks to all of us who navigate less-than-perfect-relationships with parents or children. Therefore, it may speak to all of us.“—Elyse Singleton, award-winning author of This Side of the Sky
“A heartwarming story that shows why life tastes better when the bitter is followed by the sweet, Orange Mint and Honey is a delicious treat.“—The Black Expressions Book Club
“There are many layers to this story that make it a satisfying reading experience…. This is fiction for all women that transcends age, race and economic/class lines.“—Dera R. Williams, APOOO Book Club
“Carleen Brice is an amazing new author who has written an equally amazing first novel. Her story of love, pain, understanding and forgiveness speaks to the heart of women readers who enjoy a good tear-jerker. It kept me laughing from the very first chapter. As well, it brought tears of compassion to my eyes for Shay and Nona. Orange Mint and Honey is a five-star read.“—Idrissa Uqdah, AALBC
“Carleen Brice’s Orange Mint and Honey, with its heart-tugging warmth and harsh reality, has earned a place on my ‘favorite books’ shelf. The characters are expertly drawn, the plot fluid and the message clear.“—T. Shelly B. of The RAWSISTAZ™ Reviewers