Kimberla Lawson Roby’s The Reverend Curtis Black Series is more than the story of one reverend and his battles with temptation. This series is a family saga full of shocking secrets, church politics, and, yes, a few illicit affairs. The trials and tribulations of the Black family introduce readers to questions of love, relationships, morality, family, and faith. Here’s how Curtis Black’s story unfolds over the course of the 15-book series.
After Curtis Black's ex-lover dies, he's left with the responsibility of raising their two-year-old child Curtina. Curtis welcomes his daughter into his home with open arms, but not everyone in the Black household is so inviting. Curtis's wife Charlotte isn't thrilled about the daily reminder of her husband's extramarital affairs, and she takes out her resentment on Curtina. In an effort to get away from her stressful home life, Charlotte ends up spending more time outside of her home with an ex-boyfriend. Meanwhile, Curtis is spending more time with his congregation, specifically the women.
It's been months since Curtis learned about his wife Charlotte's two affairs. While he continues to keep up appearances, for now, Curtis has already decided that he's filing for divorce as soon as their son Matthew graduates high school. Charlotte, however, is not so ready to let go and is determined to save their marriage by whatever means necessary. Despite all of Charlotte's best efforts, Curtis is ready to move on, and there’s already a new woman who is just waiting to become the next Mrs. Black.
New drama enters into the Black family household when Charlotte and Curtis's son Matthew gets his girlfriend Racquel pregnant. To make matters even more complicated, Charlotte and Racquel's mother, Mona, do not get along at all. In fact, it's Mona and Charlotte's arguing that sends Racquel into early labor. Eventually, Matthew has to give his mom an ultimatum: either she gets along with Mona, or she’s forbidden from seeing the baby at all. Meanwhile, Curtis is receiving letters at work that threaten to reveal Curtis's biggest secret.
A year ago, Matthew dropped out of Harvard to be a full-time father and marry his girlfriend Racquel. He hasn't spoken to his family since, and Matthew is not ready to forgive and forget. But fatherhood turns out to be much harder than Matthew thought it would be, and he soon finds himself wanting to give into temptation, much like his father did. Matthew isn't the only son with drama in this novel, however. Dillon Whitfield, Curtis’s long lost son, has become a part of the family, and Charlotte, thinking he's only after their money, doesn’t trust Dillon one bit. Dillon is Curtis’s eldest son and therefore sees himself as the heir of the family fortune. In the end, Dillon will do whatever he has to do to make sure he stays a prominent member of the family and secures his inheritance, even if it means playing dirty.
In the twelfth Curtis Black novel, Roby returns to the eldest Black daughter, Alicia. Alicia has divorced her cheating second husband and is dating her first husband Phillip Sullivan, trying to make amends for how badly she treated him the first time around. Alicia is very much ready to remarry Phillip until Levi, a drug dealer with whom she had an affair, is released from prison. Since Levi last saw Alicia, he's gotten his life together and is ready to rekindle a romance with her. Meanwhile, Philip and Alicia's best friends are going through major marital strife: Brad is losing money due to “bad investments,” but his wife Melanie doesn’t trust him. Because of the stress she's under, Melanie is eating less and Alicia worries her friend has anorexia. Then Alicia confronts Melanie about it, and Melanie gets extremely defensive. It's bad enough to have relationship drama, but when Alicia's friendships begin to suffer as well, her situation becomes overwhelming.
Curtis's son Dillon Whitfield has started his own congregation, and over the past two years, his church has become very successful. But much like his father before him, Dillon finds himself falling into temptation. Since falling out with her family over her marriage to her new husband Levi, Alicia has left her father's church and joined Dillon's congregation. Yet despite Alicia's attempts to distance herself from the Black family, she's hiding a devastating secret that could affect her family in unexpected ways.
After her very messy and public divorce from her husband Dillon, Raven is in the process of rebuilding her life. Unfortunately, in her attempts to get out from under her manipulative and corrupt husband, Raven has become the same type of person herself. Soon she will find that toying with innocent people's lives will come back to bite her, but will she be prepared to face the consequences?
In the final installment of the Reverend Curtis Black Series, Roby returns to Curtis Black's roots, examining the ways in which a person's upbringing can affect the adult person they become. Throughout his life, Curtis has hidden his past from his friends and loved ones. Curtis's childhood was horrifying and traumatizing, and he still feels the effects of his childhood in his adult life. His past comes back to haunt him when his estranged sister falls ill. In addition, his twelve-year-old daughter Curtina is acting out. Between Curtis's childhood secrets and Curtina's wild behavior, the entire Black family is beginning to unravel.
Kimberla Lawson Roby is the New York Times bestselling author of the highly acclaimed Curtis Black Series. She lives with her husband in Rockford, Illinois.