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Fifteen years after the publication of his acclaimed novel Mason’s Retreat, Christopher Tilghman returns to the Mason family and the Chesapeake Bay in The Right-Hand Shore.
It is 1920, and Edward Mason is making a call upon Miss Mary Bayly, the current owner of the legendary Mason family estate, the Retreat. Miss Mary is dying. She plans to give the Retreat to the closest direct descendant of the original immigrant owner that she can find. Edward believes he can charm the old lady, secure the estate and be back in Baltimore by lunchtime.
Instead, over the course of a long day, he hears the stories that will forever bind him and his family to the land. He hears of Miss Mary’s grandfather brutally selling all his slaves in 1857 in order to avoid the reprisals he believes will come with Emancipation. He hears of the doomed efforts by Wyatt Bayly, Miss Mary’s father, to turn the Retreat into a vast peach orchard, and of Miss Mary and her brother growing up in a fractured and warring household. He learns of Abel Terrell, son of free blacks who becomes head orchardist, and whose family becomes intimately connected to the Baylys and to the Mason legacy.
The drama in this richly textured novel proceeds through vivid set pieces: on rural 19th-century industry; on a boyhood on the Eastern Shore of Maryland; on the unbreakable divisions of race and class; and, finally, on two families attempting to save a son and a daughter from the dangers of their own innocent love. The result is a radiant work of deep insight and peerless imagination about the central dilemma of American history.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Eric on 06-07-12
This is a very nicely written plantation saga with plenty of sweep and character, as well as an interesting take on race in the antebellum years. The reader is solid enough, but ought to come to Eastern Maryland and hear the local accent someday. His white characters all sounded like Deep South caricatures.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
By Charles Findley on 07-28-17
Would you listen to The Right-Hand Shore again? Why?
Yes, and I have a companion Kindle addition because this Author's turns of phrase are so vivid and artful. We live near this area and found this book intriguing. Looking forward to listening to his first book about Mason's Retreat. I hope we don't have to wait anther ~20 years between his gifted presentations.
What was one of the most memorable moments of The Right-Hand Shore?
The revelation of the murder.
What does Scott Sowers bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
Didn't particularly like his reading of the story.
Who was the most memorable character of The Right-Hand Shore and why?
Each one had their own carefully crafted characters represented, so in my view, the author was masterful in not letting you dwell on one single individual. Vivid depictions of all their characters.