Fifteen years after the publication of his acclaimed novel, Mason’s Retreat, Christopher Tilghman returns to the Mason family and its decaying plantation on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. In this new novel, The Right-Hand Shore, the Masons and their former slaves attempt to create a just and viable community in the tumultuous years after the Civil War. Most of these hopes are dashed by the farm’s failure and an unsolved murder, but out of these tragedies comes a forbidden love affair that offers a chance for redemption. A newly revised edition of Mason’s Retreat has been published alongside The Right-Hand Shore.
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“Constructed, Wuthering Heights style, . . . The Right-Hand Shore represents an outing of some of America’s most troubled ghosts . . . Tilghman unfolds his harsh lesson with precision, delicacy and startling humor . . . ‘The Right-Hand Shore’ is the dark, magisterial creation of a writer with an uncanny feel for the intersections of place and character in American history. His readers will want to hear more stories from the Eastern Shore estate. Let’s just hope he doesn’t keep us waiting for another 16 years.” —Fernanda Eberstadt, New York Times Book Review Read the entire review.
“Tilghman’s exquisite third novel returns to the eastern shore of Maryland to prefigure the events of his first, Mason’s Retreat. . . . The tale’s descent into tragedy is nevertheless beautiful; ‘creamy yellow’ sunlight and the perfume of peach blossoms pervade Mason’s Retreat alongside its ghosts and horrors. Tilghman maneuvers through the misery of three generations, following each elegant plot turn inevitably back to its source: this living, breathing land on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“The past has a way of making hearts ache in Christopher Tilghman’s excellent novel The Right-Hand Shore. Set in Maryland in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, his story explores the desires that drive people to try to overcome the past . . . Many chapters in his new book could nearly stand on their own as captivating glimpses into the relationships—white and black, owner and workman, man and woman, parent and child—that revolve around the Retreat . . . Tilghman’s skill at presenting the clashing points of view for his characters is matched by his ability to evoke their place and time, whether it’s a Catholic girls school in Paris or a black village on the peninsula called Tuckertown. There’s never a false note, either, only poignant and surprising ones that linger long after the last page.” —Douglas K. Daniel, Associated Press