Its 1905, 12 yr old Delena is being raised by her grandpa and aunt Tilley. Both are very cautious when it comes to what Delena is allowed to do. (usually the answer is no) The house is filled with family photographs. Delena wonders about everyone's story. Her grandpa isn't talking and aunt Tilley only shares a little, sometimes. Since, Delena was little, her Tilley was telling what to be wary of (pretty much everything). Delena's aunt also told her many stories about the mother's she's never seen, who died giving birth and her father who was never heard from again.
In the beginning Delena's grandpa, Samuel Hannibal is very quiet. He doesn't talk much about his years in slavery. After, Delena's grandpa brought his freedom, he settled in Charleston, WV. By the end, Samuel is opening up about searching for family members by putting ads in newspapers and going to churches in hopes of hearing any news.
After aunt Tilley dies, Delena learns many of aunt's stories weren't true and there's no need to be afraid of everything.
Bolden uses her very own antique photographs in the novel. It's a beautiful touch, even more so with Delena using them to guess everyone's personalty.
" I liked the way aunt Rachel decorated herself. She had the same sense about her as Eula. Top boss of her world! And I was hoping aunt Tilley had mixed Eula up with somebody else. I wanted her name to be Emma, like was on the back of her photograph. "Emma" sounded more bouncy. Above all, may she not be passing. Or dead. that way when she came for the funeral she'd tell me all about her life as an opera singer or something that had her traveling around the world, but now she was tired, so tired. Tired of crossing oceans. Tired of keeping up with hatboxes and steamer trunks. She was ready to stay put where she had family. "
I really liked Delena and enjoyed watching her slowly begin to sort things out for herself, beginning with the photographs. Delena also learns the truth about her parents. Bolden surrounds Delana with well developed characters. I loved the straight forward telling of this novel, it made it very easy for me to connect with Delana.
Finding Family was very good and a pleasure to read. An excerpt