Mama Dearest

Mama Dearest

Contributions by: Karen Hunter
One of E. Lynn Harris's incomparable heroines, Yancey Harrington Braxton, is working her way back to Broadway and beyond. And this diva supreme always stirs up drama in and out of the spotlight....

New York City, you've been warned: Yancey Harrington Braxton is back. The ambitious singer and actress is fired up to move past her recent professional and personal setbacks -- including an explosive romance with NFL tight end John Basil Henderson -- and prove her talents are stronger than ever. After being out on tour, Yancey realizes what she really wants is to star in her own reality TV series, and she's even found a rich and well-connected lover to make it happen. There are, however, two women fierce enough to derail Yancey's plans with ambitions of their own: Madison B., a hot new bombshell taking the music industry by storm, and Ava Middlebrooks, who happens to be Yancey's own mama dearest.

Ava is out, about, and ready to reclaim her throne. Not even a stint in prison for attempted murder has curbed Ava's competitive nature, and it doesn't faze her in the least that her #1 rival is her own daughter. Ava is willing to do whatever it takes to make Yancey pay, including using Madison B. to turn Yancey's world upside-down by forcing her to confront the past...and making her comeback dreams more exciting and dangerous than she ever imagined.

Taking readers on a wild, passion-filled tour of the entertainment world, E. Lynn Harris's Mama Dearest delivers sensual thrills and electric plot twists -- with one unforgettable woman of radiant star power, sexual magnetism, and unapologetic ambition at the heart of the action.
  • Gallery Books/Karen Hunter Publishing | 
  • 400 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439166710 | 
  • September 2009


A Loving Tribute to E. Lynn Harris

Watch authors Terry McMillan, Victoria Christopher Murray, and Stephen Carter pay tribute to the bestselling author E. Lynn Harris.


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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Mama Dearest by E. Lynn Harris includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Yancey Harrington Braxton is trying to make a comeback. She’s a has-been singer/actress working with small theatre productions and even smaller budgets. Yancey has lost the status, but she hasn’t lost the attitude. Her world begins to change on the evening she meets a sexy stranger in Miami and when her mother Ava is released from prison on early parole. When that stranger helps Yancey get her own reality show and Ava starts wreaking havoc on her life, Yancey will have to decide between facing her past for real or for show.

Questions for Discussion

1. When Yancey’s producer Cale begins to ask her about Madison she says: “I come from a long line of bad mothers and [that is] most likely the reason I was so afraid to be one myself.” What do you think the author is saying about the importance of mother/daughter relationships?

2. Describe the men in the novel. How do they interact with Ava and Yancey? What do the men in their lives tell us about their behavior?

3. Throughou see more

Behind the Book

More Books from this Author

E. Lynn Harris and RM Johnson—two powerful voices of a generation—unite with an insightful and emotional project that tackles themes of family, loyalty and identity. Cobi Winslow, a handsome, well-educated district attorney, knows nothing about the life of his estranged twin brother, Eric Reed, a career criminal raised by the foster care system. Following their parents’ death, Cobi searches for and finds his brother, hoping to regain lost years. Soon thereafter, Eric’s...
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About the Author

E. Lynn Harris
Photograph © Matthew Jordan Smith

E. Lynn Harris

E. Lynn Harris, a #1 national and New York Times bestselling author, wrote twelve acclaimed novels including Basketball Jones, Just Too Good to Be True, and I Say a Little Prayer. There are more than four million copies of his novels in print. He died in 2009 at the age of 54. Visit