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So, I’m sitting at my desk calmly doing my work and my co-worker keeps calling out to me saying: “Marilyn, you’ve got to read this book.” I’m very busy so I try to ignore her but to no avail. It is the week before our Christmas party (2009) and I don’t have anything to wear…urrgh. Anyway, she finishes this *must read* book and lends it to me. The name of the book is Departures by Adrienne Bellamy. I had not heard of her before, but let me tell you, when I started reading the book I just could not put it down! It was as funny as ever and I could not stop laughing. I had to sadly put the book away while reading on the train-ride home. As I continued to think about the characters, I kept laughing loudly, especially when I got to the part where the Pastor decided that he was bold enough to collect funds for him and his new mate…OMG. Yes, I was getting very strange looks on that train ride. Another part that brought me to tears of laughter was when Ms. Sheila decided to dig up the hubby from the cemetery…OMG, freaking hilarious!!! Paula is a nightmare that you’ve gotta love…her character was absolutely one of the best characters in the book for me…. Ms. Bold and Brassy Paula. Overall my only complaint is that the book was not long enough!!

Finally, I loved the way Bellamy gives her fans extensive closure on the lives of her strange and whacky characters in Connecting.



Okay…so this book, although not a sequel to the first two books was also riveting to me. It took me to places in law where I understand have a legal background in Canada. While it was more on the serious side than the other books, it still had many funny parts/characters to it. Love the way that Lenny’s girlfriend Carolyn was described…wow, how could anyone sleep well at night having done so much bad stuff just to accomplish financial gain…seriously…and it was not even in the millions. Yep…she did not end up a millionaire but just a thousandnaire (is that a word, nah, but you know what I mean). I was very impressed with the way the character Denise Garner handled the case. I especially loved the way that she eventually got an understanding with the insurance worker who was at first giving her a difficult time, but Denise would not give up…persistence always wins in the end. My beef with this book is that I did not like the way Maritza turned out to be a nutcase. To me Purdy was more of a nutcase that Maritza because of the extensive measures he took to make sure that his adoptive daughter was safe. (which of course turned out to blow up in his face because she was taken from right under him anyway). I guess the moral of that character was that we can never be too careful? My favorite character in this book…Denise of course.


My overall favourite characters in these books are: Paula, Emily, Jared, Sheila, Horace, Amber, Denise. I did like the other characters as well, but these stood out for me more than the others.

Book Review by Marilyn Nelson from Ontario, Canada

Wow! You Go Girl!, January 13, 2006

By Catherine Pierce (Jamaica, New York) - See all my reviews

I really enjoy reading Departures. It moved well and was an excellent read. I found myself staying up late at night to get to the next chapter. The characters were believable, although I wonder about Paula. There were some great laughs, I'll never look at a graveyard the same way again. I'm looking forward to reading Connecting.

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Absolutely A Hit!!, November 17, 2005

By The Booklover (Jenkintown, PA USA) - See all my reviews

Departures and Connecting! Often compared to The Women of Brewster Place, Departures introduced a group of strong women living in Philadelphia. Raucously funny, generous, loyal and always authentic, these are the same women that continue in Connecting. The deceit, betrayal, astrological information, tarot readings and love, love, love will keep you page turning all night!

Love You!


Not What I Was Expecting.........., April 11, 2005

By booklover68 (San Francisco, CA) - See all my reviews

I agree with the review "Down The Stairs". The book started off great! Ambers family dramas were off the hook! Her mother Paula was crazy and as the book progressed she moved from a selfish skank to a cruel child abuser. This part of the book was fantastic. You could really feel for Amber and wonder how any woman could be so heartless towards her children. Amber suffered more than her older sister and baby Renee.

Instead of keeping focused on Amber and her family Ms. Bellamy kept switching chapter by chapter to other characters. This is were I have the biggest complaint. The book jacket description is very misleading. Amber has little to no contact with Shelia the mother of four, Reba the mother of six or Lucy the college grad single. There was never any interaction between Amber and these women. It was if Ms. Bellamy was telling several different stories at once and there was no real connection or realistic link between the stories.

The book would have been excellent if Ms. Bellamy would have stayed focus on Ambers family. In particular Renee's dad Horace. He was a character that deserved so much more time. Instead too much of the story was spent on Sheila's live in help Lenora, her part time baby sitter Pam; Horaces baby sitter Emily and her relationship with Jared; Lucy's wirlwind romance with Kevin and so on and so on and so on........All these other people were destracting.

However, Ms. Bellamy is a talented writer and I will give her future works a chance.

Author is Brilliant!, April 6, 2005

By Quattrone the Reviewer (Pennsylvania, USA) - See all my reviews

She wrote her first poem when she was only six years old. And she hasn't stopped writing---or making people laugh---ever since. Addressing a graduate class in Marketing of the Book at Rosemont College in Pennsylvania, she says, "I'm book-smart and street-smart. I have a lot of stories to tell. I'm basically a storyteller.'Departures' [her first novel] is a collection of interlocking stories."

But the more you listen to, the more you watch, novelist Adrienne Bellamy, the more you realize that she is so much more than a mere storyteller. A hard-working single mother who tends to her own two daughters as lovingly as she infuses fire into her words, Bellamy comes off as an earth goddess, a phenomenon of nature, and a force to be reckoned with.

At a typical book signing, she has been known to approach people thusly: "You want a hot novel? Come here. I'll show you one." Then she leads them to "Departures" and says, "There's a lot of dirt, gossip and sex in it. You'll really like it."

Invariably, by sheer power of personality, she induces them to buy her book. And were it not for her supreme self-assurance, her deep-seated belief in the stories she has to tell and the characters crying out to tell them, and her relentless pursuit of her goal, she would never have gotten "Departures" published--let alone "Connecting," her second novel, published by New American Library's popular Penguin Books imprint.

"Connecting," Bellamy likes to explain, is a sequel to her first novel, with most of the original characters (at least those who are still alive) returning, a few years older and some, even wiser than they were in "Departures." The central figure in both books is Amber Alston, a precious and endearing ten year old in the first book and now a seventeen year old who has been thoroughly seasoned by her experiences with her abusive mother, Paula Gray (a wonderful "villain"), an her contact with her half-sisters and assorted colorful characters who light up the Philadelphia neighborhood where both stories are set.

Somewhat in the manner of William Faulkner in "As I Lay Dying," Bellamy opens each chapter with the name of a key character and propels the narrative forward through each character's unique vision and point of view. Pretty bold stuff from an author who's never gone to college but whose street smarts clearly equal, or surpass, her book smarts.


Although I haven't yet picked up a copy of "Connecting," I look forward to a continuation of the saga of Bellamy's heavy duty fictional African-American neighborhood in Philadelphia, where gambling, high-fashion, sex, fun and earnest family values compete for dominance among a cast of unforgettable characters, many of them children, full of life's passions and promise.

Bellamy revisits the neighborhood in her third novel, "Arrivals," scheduled for publication in 2006.

Her beautiful daughter Alia serves as the cover girl in an idealized version of her Philadelphia neighborhood in "Departures." And several of the characters might bear some resemblance to people Bellamy knows or has known. But she insists that her books are essentially works of fiction that deserve to be read solely for their sheer entertainment value.


Along the way, readers will discover Bellamy's preoccupation with astrological signs (each character bears the mark of Leo, Taurus or Scorpio, for example, and acts accordingly). The dialogue is fast, realistic and engaging, and the intersecting plotlines will leave you breathless.

Not bad for this passionate earth mother who swears, "These stories come right through my brain to my hands onto the computer screen."

Worst Book I've Read In a Very Long Time, March 21, 2006

By citygirl (new york) - See all my reviews

There were so many reasons that I gave this book only one star; the first of which is that I couldn't give it any less. My primary complaint when reading this book is that the writing style is SO flat. Imagine reading more than 300 pages of dialogue expressed in this manner (not an actual excerpt from the book): "I told her that we never go out anymore. She said that we would get together soon. I said I was looking forward to it. She called me on Saturday. I was so happy." If you don't believe that it was really written this way, then pick a page from the book and see if I'm not telling you the truth.

My next complaint is regarding the unlikely digging up and beating a dead man, then bragging about it to the next man that you meet (who is stupid enough to find it both amusing and appealling) and so easily winning the favor of someone whose career you have jeopardized at an important fashion show because you decided to spread your um....wings.

Can we talk for a minute about the cast of unnecessary characters? There were far too many people to keep up with; friends, family members, babysitters, band members, nice lady from the hospital - the list goes on and on and on. I found myself skipping whole chapters just to get back to where Amber, Horace and Paula left off. Truthfully, it wasn't even as if I were genuinely interested in what was going on with them either. I just hate to start a book and not get to the end - although the journey to page 323 was not enjoyable.

It's finally over and I have filed this book exactly where it belongs....for the janitor's sake, I hope he doesn't mistake it for something worth salvaging.

Down the stairs..., March 15, 2005

By Shamontiel L. Vaughn "Web Editor, Author, Rev... (Chicago) - See all my reviews

This book started off phenomenal. I was all over Amber's tale with her crazy, nymphomaniac mother, Paula. I enjoyed reading about a young girl's struggle to stay a young girl. I questioned why the author never said anything about the one sister being allowed in the bedroom and the screaming. Don't punk out when you bring it up. But the other stories just went way offboard. One woman flying out of town for a guy she barely knows. A dog who is commanded to kill not going for the neck first. A woman who's been under her husband for fourteen years and all the tricks she pulled, him being so submissive. I didn't know I was reading an astrology cookbook. Why would the author put recipes in there? And why did the astrology reading last so many pages? I'm a Scorpio and I didn't even want to read it. I think the author put too many of her interests in it instead of telling the story. If the story was just Horace, Paula, Amber, Grandpa, and Grandma, I would've given this story five stars. But I didn't enjoy the rest of that stuff. It was too far-fetched.

You Go Girl!!!, March 9, 2005

By Arvette Farley (Philadelphia, PA) - See all my reviews

I really enjoyed "Departures"- This book was too funny. I could relate to so many of the charaters. Some of the scenes made me think that the Adrienne Bellamy was following me around (Ha Ha)... The astrology piece in this book was so on point!!!

Girl you missed your calling (Scary) I can't wait to get into the sequel...

I was so into this book, that I was caught reading it at my desk at work- During work hours. It was so hard to put it down!!!

And I will say it again 'YOU GO GIRL'


Good read, December 19, 2004

By DEArrington "ireadalot" (cleveland, oh) - See all my reviews

I first heard about this book from the author herself. I didn't have a clue what it was about or if I was going to like it but I figured it was worth a shot.What a shot this book turned out to be.

One reviewer said that there were too many characters and that she was drawn to only certain ones. I think that is the best part of the book. It read like a t.v. soap opera. I loved just about all of the women in the book and some of the men. I think I enjoyed Doug the most.

I will say though, being a pisces woman and knowing many piscean women, I was a little offended of Ms. Bellamy's opinion of us. On the contrary to her book we are very kind, caring, loving, and feeling people. Probably the most sensitive in the zodiac.

But beyond that I really enjoyed this book and can not wait to read the sequel.

Don't read if you're busy, November 16, 2004

By Joquina (Glenside, PA) - See all my reviews

My book club, The Page Turners had the pleasure of hosting author Adrienne Bellamy in February 2004 after reading her book Departures as our featured selection for the month. We found Adrienne to be just like her book - full of life and had a lot going on, all at the same time. What a lively discussion we had! The members had many questions for Adrienne and wanted her input to why she had written what she had written. Different members had different favorite characters. Some parts pleased us immensely, like Paula getting her just desserts. Part of Departures made us laugh and some parts just annoyed us. While reading the book, different members found themselves calling each other to find out if they had read the part where the person calling was at in the book. Often the conversation began, "Girl, wait to you get to page _____." Departures gave us a beginning to look forward to. All I can say is that you are in for a treat. You will meet a new cast of characters who get into things that we see on soap operas but they are so down to earth that they could be your next door neighbor. You'll find yourself wishing that they did live next door to you when you are in need of help because they are there for each other in good times and in bad. You'll wish you were a part of their lives and could attend their celebrations. Don't read this book when you have a deadline to face because you might end up in trouble with your boss. This book is a hard to put down till you get to the end of the book! Happy reading.

Breaking free, October 24, 2004

By The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers ( and - See all my reviews

DEPARTURES is a welcomed change from the usual relationship fiction so readily available. This story takes place in a Philadelphia neighborhood where everyone knows each other and all their personal business. The cast of characters is a wonderful mix of people who will make you laugh out loud and think pensively.

Amber is a ten-year-old girl, who knows without a doubt her mother is going to kill her, because she hates her so much. As smart as Amber is, she cannot make her mother, Paula love her. With the pain her mother gives, will Amber be able to find true happiness?

Paula has a reputation in her circle of acquaintances. She considers herself adventuresome, but most consider her to be fast and just a little crazy. She thinks nothing of using men for money and she definitely doesn't worry about the affects her lifestyle has on her three daughters from three different men. Yet, she will experience a set back that will change her life and the life of her children.

Sheila was so mad at her husband before and after he died, that she does the unthinkable to take out her revenge and to take back her life. Her husband spent his money gambling and never caring how the bills would be paid. Unfortunately, it is his gambling that will cause him to lose his life. For Sheila, it was good riddance and on to a better life.


Reba is a mother of six children, a librarian and the wife of a man who doesn't know the meaning of fidelity. When a weekend trip takes her away from her deadbeat husband and children, she discovers what she has been missing. Upon her return home, the whole house is in for some real changes.

There are many more characters from the neighborhood. Readers will meet a cast they will immediately recognize; they have characteristics of people you know. The characters are funny, spontaneous and very real. I would be laughing out loud one minute and shaking my head the next with all the antics these women and men take on in order to break free of lives that are filled with infidelity, loneliness, fear and low self-esteem. I enjoyed the story, but I found I liked certain characters more than others. It was the lesser characters that made the flow of the novel somewhat slow, but it is the antics of the main characters that keep you reading. Even with the multitude of characters, each one is distinctive and helped to create a unique story. The story illustrates the ability of people to grow, be free and to evolve. DEPARTURES is one story worth taking the time to read. (3.5 Rating)

Reviewed by Cashana Seals

of The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers

Outrageous, October 21, 2004

By Pratt (Philadelphia) - See all my reviews

A funny, but honest look at the issues of romance, lust, friendship and revenge. The characters are racy and colorful, making it very hard to put this book down. You have to know what each character is going to do in the next chapter. It's likely the reader will finish in one sitting.

Departures--The Hottest Thing Going!, October 13, 2004

By Cinnamon "Wynne" (Philadelphia, PA) - See all my reviews

Well, well, well...I'm certainly impressed. This book says it all. First of all, we've just got to kill the character Paula. She's worthless. I wanted to come through the pages to get to her. I absolutely love Amber. What will she do next? Horace is the man of my dreams and he knows what cards to play. And, speaking of cards, Sheila knew exactly what to do with her man. You go, girl! I was totally captivated with Emily and Jared and I cannot wait for the sequel to see what goes on with them. I was floored with Reba and those trash bags. Adrienne Bellamy certainly has the correct recipe for a best selling novel and she definitely knows how to snatch a reader and keep them flipping pages. Hooray for Departures and I can't wait for the sequel. Honestly--my favorite characters are all of them--even that rotten Paula. Adrienne Bellamy--You ROCK and know what else you do--you keep your reader laughing. I believe that where there's smoke there is fire and Departures is definitely smoking--come on with the sequel. I can't wait!

Intriguing, September 27, 2004

By Sonja (Landover, Maryland) - See all my reviews

I title my review intriguing, because intriguing means engaging interest to a marked degree. The book was simply fascinating. Once I started to read it, I just couldn't put it down. The characters were dynamic. There were strong women as well as men. This book has a little of everything. It will make you laugh as well as cry. It will even make you want to jump right in there as a character and beat some people up. Even toward the end you got a little surprise. Each woman in this book was unique in their own way. The author caught a little of every woman's characterics. I just can not wait for the next book. Please bring it on. 

As real as it gets, September 27, 2004

By Angelique C. Henderson "Ms. Jordy's mom" (Cumberland, RI United States) -

Departures, the debut novel by Adrienne Bellamy, can be summed up in two words, great book. Having been compared to the classic, The Women of Brewster Place, Departures is bound to make some noise in the literary world.

Amber is one of those children who as the old folks like to say has `been here' before. Relying on her old soul to navigate her through life as the child of an unfit mother, Amber has some pretty interesting tales to tell.

Paula, Amber's mother never wanted children and it definitely shows in the way she treats her three daughters. All she wants out of life is a good lay, fast times and warm male bodies to crawl up next to at night. Not having one maternal bone in her body along with the fact that her morality tank is sitting on "E", Paula is going to have to learn the hard way.

Shelia has been putting up with her deadbeat husband for as far back as she can remember. Finally at her wit's end and tired of dealing with his foolishness she gives him an ultimatum. Not able to live up to his end of the deal costs him his life. Unable to put up with him anymore she gives it to him. Too bad he isn't alive to hear what all she has to say.

Reba has been living her life for her six kids and her trifling husband. A trip out of town has opened her eyes to what she has been missing and she is ready to make a change. Certain that her happiness will be determined by her marital status, she is going to surprise a whole lot of people starting in her own house.

Seldom is there a novel where the characters affect you like the ones you meet in Departures. Whether they are making you cry or putting a smile on your face you are certain to find a special place in your heart for them


Piece of Junk, June 22, 2004

By Hubba (NewYork,New York) - See all my reviews

This review is from: Departures (Paperback)

First of all she need to stop writting her own reviews.. this is the biggest waist of money that I have ever spent...I hope that she spends it well...fool me once but never twice.

You must read Departures, May 13, 2004

By "realfemale" - See all my reviews

This review is from: Departures (Paperback)

Hello All, I'm 18 years old.I have a copy of Departures and I LOVE this book. If you're the type of reader who really likes to become a part of the story and really get into a book-- then you're gonna want to read this. Whatever you're age, you will like it. It's so funny and the story is truly unique. I believe Ms. Bellamy is an amazing author and I am looking forward to reading the sequel to Departures as well as her future novels. You will want to too-- pick up this book because you won't forget it.

Departures, January 15, 2004

By Deva Deb (Phila., PA) - See all my reviews

This review is from: Departures (Paperback)

I was on an emotional rollercoaster... happy - sad - shocked -

relieved. Love it & recommend it to all my "bookies" [friends]

Deva Deb

A Roller Coaster Ride!, January 14, 2004

By "queenhenri" (Phila. FM Band Book Club) - See all my reviews

This review is from: Departures (Paperback)

Represent, sister! Departures is a novel that will have you departing with laughter, anger, love and hate. Your emotions will run the gamut. As you visualize the inner workings of the various characters, you will come to despise some, empathize with some, weep for some and rejoice in the growth and intelligence of others.

As the novel progresses, you will want to attack Paula, get into her head and simply ask her, "Why?" You will feel sympathy for Sheila and Reba at first and then, revel in their gumption. Amber's plight will wrench the strings of your heart. The other characters will be just as compelling in their unique destinies.

Resign yourself to a roller coaster ride as you read and experience the antics of each of these distinct characters.



New Viewer, January 6, 2004

By FM Book Club Member (Philadelphia, PA) - See all my reviews

This review is from: Departures (Paperback)

I was very excited at the beginning of the book, but there were certain characters that would not have been missed. The story was good about Paula and Amber and Horece, I also enjoyed Rebecca and her strength to move on. I just think it was a little too much going on at times and it took kind of long to get back to the story you wanted to read.

I picked up on a major mistake, when Sheila called her child on the telephone while she was at the hospital with Pam, they made it look like Emily went to take care of the children and she was in a comma.

I did totally enjoy the zodiac portion, the book and the writing was not bad at all I just found myself a little more glued to certain characters.

With You Every Step of the Way, December 27, 2003

By Paula Smith (Philadelphia, PA) - See all my reviews

This review is from: Departures (Paperback)

This book is excellent! It completely engrosses the reader, who quickly comes to have stake in every laugh, every tear, every feeling of excitement, and every other emotion that the characters experience. It will keep you on the edge of your seat wondering, 'What in the world could possibly happen next' - and you're sure to be surprised! Adrienne Bellamy's writing style pulls you into the midst of the lives of Amber Gray and those around her, and once your curiousity is piqued you won't be able to put Departures down.

Samona Johnson (Cleveland, OH)

This review is from: Departures (Paperback)


Departures is wonderful and very enjoyable reading. I was in Las Vegas while reading the book and could not put it down during my entire visit. I was very pleased and amused. Ms. Bellamy has an imagination out of this world. Her work is truly incredible and unique. Departures is one of a kind and will shock your mind. I can't wait for the sequel. I have given it to friends and family, bought them copies. I love it, I love it.

Would I love the most about the book is that all the woman ended up with good men, what a twist. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You

Please tell me when the sequel is released.

Outstanding, June 16, 2003

By Doris Prather (San Antonio, Texas) - See all my reviews

This review is from: Departures (Paperback)

I really enjoyed reading Departures. I loved the characters. Ms. Bellamy made them real. I got the departures on the 2003 cruise and when I return home and started reading the book I could not put it down. I loved Horace and his love for children. I loved Reba's strength and coolness. Shelia who I also loved, I don't know if I would dig up my dead husband :-)), but she had to release the angry she had for him and this was her way. I can't wait until the next books. Thank you Ms. Bellamy for Departures.

Departures is Great !!, June 7, 2003

By "cbsboone" (Chicago, Il United States) - See all my reviews

This review is from: Departures (Paperback)

I loved this book because it was so detailed and reminded me of so many places in North Philadelphia, I felt like I knew the people/places and they were a part of my life. Can't wait to find out what's going to happen next!! Keep it going Ms. Bellamy and give us more !!

The Best, April 22, 2003

By A Customer

This review is from: Departures (Paperback)

I loved "Departures", it was one one the best books i have ever read. The language was clear, the letters were bold which made the book very easy to read and the stories followed each other. It was a pleasure to read the book, i finished in the second week i purchased the book but i started reading it again. It was a very interesting book and i can't wait for the next sequel to come out. The author did a very great job...

DO YOURSELF A FAVOR......READ IT, April 21, 2003

By DAJ (Philadelphia, PA) - See all my reviews

This review is from: Departures (Paperback)

If you want to laugh.....READ IT. If you want to feel characters come to life....READ IT. If you want to cheer some people on and BOO some others....READ IT.

Adrienne Bellamy's humor, wit and mastery of her characters' personalities is a joy. As you read on and involve yourself in Departures, you will devour each page hoping things get better for some, celebrating the good times with those who deserve it and definitely having no bad feelings about those who get what they dish out!!

I loved it!! I can not wait for the sequel. Add it to your book club's list.!!

Loved it royally, March 4, 2003

By tania Locke (usa Columbus, Ohio) - See all my reviews

This review is from: Departures (Paperback)

I received this book from the brother of the author. At that time I purchased 2 one for me and one for my sister. Our copies were hand signed.I read the book in less than 2 days i could not put it down. I laughed so hard i almost cried while in the meantime my sister would call and say "are you on this chapter yet?" I told Adriennes brother that I loved the book and can not wait for the next one.He said I cant have one until i wrote my review so here I am. I would not miss the next book for nothing in the world. Adrienne, I loved your book, Nice work and hurry hurry hrrry and get the next one done I am in suspense.

This story belongs on stage!, February 25, 2003

By Sharon (Philadelphia, PA) - See all my reviews

This review is from: Departures (Paperback)

Joy, sorrow, happiness, anger, disappointment & triumph - character by character and page to page, Ms. Bellamy remarkably arouses each and every emotion inside of you as she takes you on one of the most incredible and adventurous human journies ever written. More than anything you'll laugh as you're sure to relate to some things you've experienced in some area of your own life! I thouroughly enjoyed this hilarious exploration and journey of the human spirit. Well done!

WHY DID IT HAVE TO END?, February 21, 2003

By "r_n_b" (Dallas, Tx.) - See all my reviews

This review is from: Departures (Paperback)

When I picked Departures up, I never expected it to be so good. Once I got started, my daughter almost had to fix her own meals. (Just humor. Don't call the C.P.S.) I was blown away with lifelike characters and the density of the storyline. All of the characters were connected somehow and I am so glad that someone has shown an example of how good men are instead of depicting us as no good dogs. And where is Paula? I want a piece of her. She was scum. This book had me battling with my emotions over and over again. I related to her daughter so much because I had to go through some of the same things as a young boy. This is the type of material we want to read. Believable stuff that we can actually relate to. Thank you Adrienne.

Departures, February 18, 2003

By Carolyn Perry (Phila., PA) - See all my reviews

This review is from: Departures (Paperback)

This is the best book I've read in a long time. It caught my attention from the very beginning. I hated to put it down! The characters were truly characters in every sense of he word.

I loved the author's vivid portyal of the diferent charaters and the lives they lived. Paula was my favorite. The mess she got herself into was unbelievable. I also loved the author's sense of humor. I could go on and on but I don't have the time. I enjoyed this book so much that I bought it for several of my friends. I know that they'll enjoy it as much as I have. I can't wait for her next book.

What a cast of characters!, October 16, 2002

By Glennor Shirley (Baltimore, MD United States) - See all my reviews

This review is from: Departures (Paperback)

Adrienne's cast of characters were funny, sad, pathetic, good, hopeful, vengeful. I could see some of them coming to life. What an imagination. I kept getting so angry with Paula, and wanted to take Amber from her.

I liked the wickedness of some of the characters, the absence of obscenity, the strong positive role model in Horace, and the honesty and strength of the women except Paula. She it seems had no redeeming features.

Oh Adrienne why did you leave me hanging with Jared? I eagerly await the sequel that deals with Jared, Amber and her changed surroundings and with Reba and Doug.


Hold On To Your Seats. Departures Will Blow You Away!, September 2, 2002

By Veronica Boone (Philadelphia, PA) - See all my reviews

This review is from: Departures (Paperback)

Departures is a book I guarantee you won't be able to put down! It is so entertaining and suspenseful; not to mention hilariously funny! The characters are so real and vivid you'll find yourself talking about them as if you actually know them. Ms. Bellany's style of writing is very refreshing and completely unpredictable! You'll be laughing out loud while at the same time completely engrossed in the lives of Paula, Reba, Lance... and of course little Amber-just the right mixture for juicy book club discussions. These folks are deep! It would be a crime to not make this into a movie. Kudos to Ms. Bellamy on her maiden voyage as a writer! Give us more!!

DAYS GONE BY!, July 16, 2002

By Linda West (LaMott, PA USA) - See all my reviews

This review is from: Departures (Paperback)

I couldn't read this book fast enough. Every character, every incident reminded me of days gone by in my life and I thoroughly enjoyed reliving those days. When I was finished reading Departures, I wanted more. I felt a void. I wondered how long I would have to wait for a sequel. I started re-reading Departures and savoring every minute of it. I strongly recommend that everyone read this book. You will most definitely find yourself in one of the characters.

This was my neighborhood, July 1, 2002

By R. Reed (Franklin, MI United States) - See all my reviews

This review is from: Departures (Paperback)

I grew up in a small town where these characters existed in every block. When I went to a major university I was told that the people in my neighborhood were "dysfunctional," and "marginal," and hadn't "assimilated into mainstream America."

I thought they were warm, and funny and loving and nurturing and mutually supportive.

A couple of educational degrees later, and a couple of jobs later (including stints as a social worker, police officer and teacher), I found that everyone's neighborhood was like this; and we all loved all of the diverse characters who lived there.

Now that I have "assimilated" into a multi-million dollar neighborhood and its environs, I have found that it is the same as the neighborhood that I grew up in; including the alternate forms of income, the diverse forms of marriage and coupling, and the mental and physical abuse (experienced and inflicted).

Bellamy captured the essence of life in America, microcosmically, and infused it with a riveting sense of humor. Her style reminds me of early Sidney Sheldon, Rosemary Rogers and Jackie Collins; before they became formula writers.

What I appreciated most was that this nascent author kept me interest in myriad characters, simoultaneously; and she didn't resort to idiom, or foul language.

How I wish that the media types, and the pedantic types, would read books like this and "get it." Everybody who is down, isn't out; not even at little abused girl like Amber or a woman with six children, like Reba.

Let me know when this author publishes her second book.

A Page Turner, June 23, 2002

By Arlene Sacks (Horsham, PA USA) - See all my reviews


This review is from: Departures (Paperback)

I started this book on a Saturday morning and finished it the same evening. I couldn't put it down! It was funny, sad, depressing, uplifiting and real. It was easy to relate to most of the characters. I wanted to personally "get into the pages" to give Paula a piece of my mind and give Amber a really big hug.

I am looking forward to the sequel as there is some unfinished business that needs to be resolved and I can't wait to find out what happens.


EXCELLENT!!, June 22, 2002

By LISA NOEL (Somerset, NJ) - See all my reviews


This review is from: Departures (Paperback)

Departures will make you want to take a few days off from work(or lose a few hours of sleep)just so you don't have to stop reading. It will make you laugh out loud and also pull at your heart strings.

I can not decide which character is my favorite, they are all so real. Each one had something about them that kept me looking forward to the next episode in their life. Amber is incredibly intelligent. Horace is a blessing. Paula, well let's just pray for her. Reba, welcome to the world! All the others will amaze you as they meet and depart on their journey through life.

I loved it and I certainly hope Ms. Bellamy has a sequel headed our way soon.

Departures by Adrienne Bellamy, June 20, 2002

By Thelma Lewis (Philadelphia, Pa USA) - See all my reviews

This review is from: Departures (Paperback)

This book was emotional rollercoaster. I fell in love with the characters and was upset when I finished the book. Some of the characters in the book resemble people I know. It was funny to see them in print. The author's creation of Paula and her Mother and all of the drama they created was excellent writing. I am waiting for the sequel to the book.

They're Back!, February 5, 2005

By The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers ( and -

The wonderful, strong and at times zany characters from Departures are back in CONNECTING to bring readers up to date with their lives. Some of the most well-known characters such as Paula, Emily, Amber and Reba are still up to their wacky antics, and Adrienne Bellamy has included additional characters to add more spice to this ensemble.



Paula is in prison, acting a fool. Emily cannot decide between her boyfriend and her man on the side. Amber is away in college with a few secrets her stepfather doesn't know about. Reba is finally living the life of her dreams. Since the first book, all of the characters have moved on with their lives, yet, this Philadelphia neighborhood still has some characters whose stories are just as zany to keep readers laughing and thinking.

Adrienne Bellamy gives readers some closure to the lives of her beloved characters from Departures. CONNECTING brings some laugh-out-loud moments with the crazy antics of the characters and an over-the-top storyline. However, I would suggest reading Departures first, because the background on the characters is very brief and limited. I also found the pace of the story to be quite slow due to excessive narratives and stiff dialogue. Although it was nice catching up with the characters, this sequel falls short of my expectations.

Reviewed by Cashana Seals

Wonderful!!, February 9, 2006

By Bookclubdiva - See all my reviews

This book was hilarious, funny and brilliantly written. The author captures your attention from the start. I was born and raised in Willow Grove and knew of all the surrounding areas the author took us too. She captures the area in it's likeness. The book had you wetting your pants and then wanting to go through the book, and slap some sense in some of the characters heads. Mrs. Bellamy has out done herself in this novel and I can't wait to read her next book Arrivals. Thank you for letting me get away from my hectic schedule for 3 days:) (That's how long it took me to read the book). Denise from Philadelphia

Didn't make the Connection, January 17, 2006

By Philly Reader (Pennsylvania) - See all my reviews


After reading Departures, I thought this book would be funny and interesting. Instead, I found it confusing, annoying and just all over the place. I read Departures years ago and after all this time, I had forgotten the character's details and stories. I shouldn't need to re-read the first book to catch up to the second. I think the author could've done a better job of refreshing my memory. I also found many of the stories (Purdy's for one) to be so farfetched that I had to take a break before continuing. I would like to continue supporting the author, but I thought some of the loose ends could've been tied up better and there were too many characters and stories in this particular book.

She did it again! Wonderful!, January 13, 2006

By Catherine Pierce (Jamaica, New York) - See all my reviews

I'm so glad that my sister talked me into purchasing both books, Departures and Connecting, together. Connecting was a continuation from where Departures left off. I really enjoyed this book and I loved the way all the girls got together and helped each other. It gives a girl hope that there's really true love in the world. Paula is up to her old tricks and the girls are moving on and growing. Loved this book, it was wonderful!

Keep up the great work Adrienne.

Much love to you!


 Absolutely Loved It!!, November 17, 2005

By The Booklover (Jenkintown, PA USA) - See all my reviews

Departures and Connecting! Often compared to The Women of Brewster Place, Departures introduced a group of strong women living in Philadelphia. Raucously funny, generous, loyal and always authentic, these are the same women that continue in Connecting. The deceit, betrayal, astrological information, tarot readings and love, love, love will keep you page turning all night!

Love You!


She's Done It Again--Hooray!!!!!, August 19, 2005

By Conniemack (Newark, Delaware) - See all my reviews

I loved Connecting more than Departures. The characters came alive in this book. Ms. Bellamy captivated the audience from the first chapter, with Paula up to her usual. She is still using what she has to get what she wants. I guess in some cases, we all do. Maybe not just like Paula. Paula has no devotion to anyone but herself, it has always been about Paula and she is not going to let anyone or anything in her way to get what she wants. I think Paula had never had any sense of belonging she finds her home within her selfish desires. In Connecting, Ms. Bellamy shows you how Paula is slowly working her way up to the Warden. Paula knows he is the man that can help her have some control in the prison. I love the way Ms. Bellamy springs surprising on you. You do not have any idea that Paula's roommate, Josie has stolen the recorder. You know, Paula will make you dislike her, but all in all, she is smart, if only street smart. Look how she gets the Warden to give her a camera and then he lets her take pictures of him. Now on to other Characters-Emily and Jared, the couple made from heaven. Emily and Jared love one another unconditionally. Even when Jared felt Emily had been sleeping with Leo, he spoke to her with his heart and what could she do, but play it off. He gave it straight. Emily and Jared are meant to be, they have that connection, the karma to know that something is wrong with the other person even if they are not around. Horace is the man of my dreams. He devoted to his children. Family is the very essence that defines who he is. He believes in his children, yet he will not totally trust everything they say if it does not feel right. He supports his children whole-heartedly and gives them what they want as well as need. He believes in commitment and he commits to it. He takes control of situations and is responsible for his actions. He believes in getting to the root of the problem, by what ever means necessary. He is dedicated to his job, his woman and his children come first. Amber has grown up now and taking charge of her life. She has a firm father and she adores him for this and they have a meaningful father and daughter relationship. Amber is somewhat like her mother, she is street smart. Amber is better at judging and she mature for her age. She is determined not to fall in her mother's foot steps, yet she still has that determination of having what she wants. I just do see Amber using her body to get it. Amber will take a chance at life, but she going to think through her process first. She is not Horace's biological daughter, but she is self-assertive like him. She likes this older guy and is welling to be deceitful to her father in order to be with him. Yet, she feels that she had to do this because her father will not trust her judgment. I love Ms. Bellamy's new characters, they add adventure in her new book. From the adoption of a new Chinese baby, named Pilar to the abduction of the baby, Ms. Bellamy slams us with ongoing action. You can't stop reading because you simply don't know what the hell will happen next. The text is well written on the adoption of a baby for China legally, down to the very cost. Here she actually gave you the entire process from the very beginning to end with all the legal documentation needed. You could almost see the check being passed from Purdy to the baby's cousin, Ling-Ani. While in China, we learned that single woman having baby girls, could bring death on their newborns. Chinese feel females are not as valuable as males. Purdy truly has it going on. He is a profound doctor, who knows what he wants and can buy it, if necessary. Purdy is classy he likes all the finest things in life, money is not an issue. Purdy wasn't looking for a committed relationship with any female other than his new daughter, Pilar. She turns his life around totally. While on vacation in China, Purdy's focus was on his daughter and she came first. Before any woman could enter his life, she had to be in love with his daughter. Purdy wasn't really looking for love he had love to give unconditionally to someone that he could feel belonged to him. Some may say Purdy was a womanizer, but the two women he was involved with, knew he was not looking for a committed relationship. Purdy is cool, calm and collective, he is able to think fast, and he lets the justice system handles his problems. He is the type of man that going to get the job done, but legally. Maritza is off the hook. She is a well-known interior decorator, but she is ghetto fabulous. She is what you may say an "around the way girl." She loves to party and her friends are right off the street. Maritza lost it when she fell in love with Purdy. Her heart took over and she made a dumb move. I like Maritza, she was fun and Purdy knew she added that little flavor he needed in his life. Maritza, was immature, but she was still very young. Being immature, caused her to react before thinking, which in return get her in trouble. I am a parent and have kids in college and I could really relate to the things the kids in the novel were doing. This really is a great book with something for everybody. The Scorpio Chapter--I absolutely loved it. I am anxiously awaiting Bellamy's next book--Arrivals.

Fantastic!!, February 25, 2005

By Lover of Good Books "Clara O'Neal" (New York City) - See all my reviews

I am an avid reader and some of my favorite authors are Terry McMillan and Mary Higgins Clark. My new favorite author is Adrienne Bellamy. I had the pleasure of meeting Adrienne Bellamy on board the Tom Joyner Morning Show Fantastic Voyage of 2003. It was there that I purchased her novel, Departures. I started reading it on board the ship and could not put it down. I remember spending an entire day on the sun deck reading and laughing. I completed the book in 18 hours. I was intrigued with the characters, and the things they said and did are actually things we do in our every day lives when dealing with family and friends. I like the way Ms. Bellamy centers her stotylines around family and friends and then brings all the characters together. I particularly love the character Horace because he is a very nice person and he reminds me of myself. However, don't cross him, make him angry or mess with his daughters. I also like the characters Reba and Sheila. As an African American female, I know what it means to be strong, independent and stand up for what you believe in. Paula was also a character I liked, I just didn;t like the things she did. If you have not read Departures, I advise you to go out and get it right away. When I completed the book, I was compelled to get in touch with Ms. Bellamy to congratulate her on such an excellent novel and her writing abilities. I also wanted to know when I could get the sequel to Departures, titled Connecting. I was disappointed that Connecting would not be released until March of 2005. In November of 2004, Ms. Bellamy called me to inform me that she had a surprise for me. That surprise was that she had chosen me to become one of her test readers for her sequel, Connecting, primarily for feedback. I was not only excited, but flattered as well. I agreed and she mailed me a promotional copy of Connecting. I was ecstatic to get my hands on that novel and be reunited with the characters of Departures. I began reading Connecting on November 11, 2004. I found it to be better than Departures. My favorite characters in Connecting were Purdy, Maritza, Joel, Ebony, Angie and of course, my main man, Horace. I loved Connecting because there was constant excitement from chapter to chapter and there are some cliffhangers. Where you think you know who did something, you get a big surprise. What you thought would be the outcome changes and shocks you. There are parts where you would not believe the character actually does what they do. I couldn't believe socialite Peggy Kinard ended up in a rehab. Read it and find out why. Take some advice if you love a fantastic read--stick with the talented and creative Adrienne Belllamy. Her novels are off the chain.

The Saga Continues, November 16, 2004

By Joquina (Glenside, PA)

Don't read this book when you are facing a deadline. I was fortunate to be able to reconnect with the characters I met in Departures. The gang's back with more adventures and paybacks to dish out. This time you won't see things coming until they are in your face. You''ll find yourself cheering and just shaking your head saying "oh, my." There are surprises abound. Author Adrienne Bellamy creates colorful images of her characters that you can see so vividly. Meeting up with old familar characters is a joy and meeting the new ones is a priviledge. Read this book when you have time to read it through because once you start, you're not going to want to put it down until you get to the last page. Happy reading.

Marvelous!, March 26, 2005

By DivaReader (Norfolk, VA) - See all my reviews

My name is Sonja Goodman. I am an African American female and employed by the United States Government as an Operations Specialist, stationed at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. I am 38 years old and I am an Aquarian. I reside in Landover Maryland. I have yet to personally meet Adrienne Bellamy. I received a copy of her novel, Departures from my husband, Shelby. Shelby met Adrienne at Walter Reed Army Hospital on September 25, 2004 when she was visiting the wounded troops of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. My husband was assigned to escort Ms. Bellamy throughout the hospital.

I am an avid reader and some of my favorite authors are Eric Jerome Dickey, E. Lynn Harris, Terry McMillan and my all time favorite Adrienne Bellamy. I read Departures in 12 hours, unable to put it down. I was intrigued with the characters. I have a love/hate relationship with Paula. I am truly proud of Reba and Sheila. These two women came from being dominated by their husbands to independent, strong women. I love the way Adrienne writes because you can actually become a character. The characters say things we actually say in our every day lives. Adrienne also writes about strong men that take care of business and their children. I particularly love the character Horace. Horace is all about his daughter and the daughters of his no good girl friend. Horace takes control of situations by whatever means necessary. If you have not read it, YOU NEED TO GO OUT AND GET IT.

When I completed the book, I was compelled to get in touch with Ms. Bellamy to congratulate her on such a wonderful novel and her writing abilities. I am very impressed with her work. I also wanted to know when I could get her next novel. I was saddened that Departures' sequel will not be released until March of 2005. I had visited Ms. Bellamy's website and knew she used test readers so I immediately offered to become one. She informed me there was a waiting period

On November 1, 2004, Ms. Bellamy, to my surprise and utter delight, contacted me to advise that she needed someone to read her sequel, Connecting, primarily for feedback. I agreed and she mailed a copy f the novel to me. I was ecstatic to get my hands on that book and be reunited with the characters of Departures.

I began reading Connecting on November 3, 2004; I found it to be better than Departures.

My favorite characters in the novel are Sheila, Emily, Maritza and Purdy. I loved Connecting because there was constant excitement from chapter to chapter and there are some cliffhangers. Where you think you know who something, but Adrienne never actually comes out with it, what you thought would be the outcome, things get changed and floor you. Then there were parts where you would not believe the character could actually do what they did.

I am very happy these days because Ms. Bellamy has added me to the list and I am now an official test reader and will have the opportunity to work with her and her staff in reading and editing all of her novels before they are published. It is an honor to be a part of her upcoming projects.

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