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Extended Audio Sample The Right-Hand Shore: A Novel, by Christopher Tilghman Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (304 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Christopher Tilghman Narrator: Scott Sowers Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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A masterful novel that confronts the dilemmas of race, family, and forbidden love in the wake of America’s Civil War.

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 nineteenth-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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • 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…Tilghman unfolds his harsh lesson with precision, delicacy, and startling humor.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Elegant and engrossing…Tilghman writes so beautifully…[weaving] an intoxicating spell.”

    Boston Globe

  • “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…The tale’s descent into tragedy is nevertheless beautiful…Exquisite.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Rich in narrative and vision, this is an absorbing and poignant tale of family, race, and love of land.”


  • One of the 2012 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Sherbys law | 2/17/2014

    " Facing a DuPage military divorce? Talk to our exceptional Illinois Military Divorce Attorney Sherby for the best assists in critical process of your military divorce with personalized approach & legal services. Call us today! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Kathy Bringardner | 2/8/2014

    " Great story, based on the Maryland Eastern shore. The generations that have lived there and the odd family events make this story interesting and compelling. The author pulls you in and you want more and more as you follow this family. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Maggie | 1/28/2014

    " I thought I'd love this book, but it seemed in desperate need of reorganization and editing. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Elaine | 1/19/2014

    " Sorry, just couldn't get into it. :( "

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