Author Robin W. Pearson (A Long Time Comin’) is a rarity in Christian fiction: An African American who writes about the faith and family focus of African American characters. She’s also a top-drawer storyteller, having won a Christy Award for her first novel. In her followup, ‘Til I Want No More, Pearson offers readers a delicious and savory story of one young woman and the secrets that threaten to upend her carefully balanced life. Maxine is planning a wedding with the nearly perfect Theodore, yet she can hardly keep her mind on the wedding or Theodore when her first love, JD, comes back to town after a 13-year absence.
What happened 13 years ago is a somewhat open secret in Maxine’s family: At the age of 17, Maxine gave birth to Celeste, who was then adopted by Maxine’s mother and stepfather. Celeste doesn’t know that her big sister is her birth mother, but everyone else in the family knows. Another person who doesn’t know: Theodore, Maxine’s loving fiance. Well, that’s not good.
As their wedding day marches ever closer—and premarital counseling gets way too close to the truth—Maxine must decide who and what she truly wants.
I relished this story and its exuberant characters. Catering is the family business, so there are plenty of open-hearted, refreshingly direct conversations in the kitchen, preparing fried chicken, or on the front porch with sweet tea. Families can be as complex as old heirloom recipes, and Pearson captures all the love, care, and flaws of a big, boisterous family. On Goodreads, Pearson mused about the themes of her book: “I think it will make you ask yourself, ‘Where do I find my worth? How do I define myself? What or who is first in my life?’ as you walk toward the altar with bride-to-be Maxine Owens.” I was sad to leave these characters behind when I turned the last page, but hopeful, too, that readers haven’t seen the last of Maxine, Celeste, JD, and everyone who loves them. An effervescent new voice in Southern fiction and Inspirational fiction, Pearson and her novels are perfect for readers who love sprawling family dramas told with warmth and humor. May her tribe increase. (Tyndale)