A Novel



Uptown . . . where money rules
Uptown . . . where ambition trumps tradition
Uptown . . . where politics come before everything
Uptown . . . where a family’s secrets will bring them together—or down

After twenty years away, Avery Lyons returns to New York when her mother and uncle suffer a serious car accident. The tragedy brings the family together, but Avery is not happy about the impromptu reunion. She no longer recognizes the Harlem of her childhood, but the same old family dynamics and secrets are all too familiar . . .

Heir to a real estate empire, Dwight is willing to do anything to realize his aging and demanding father’s dream: Dixon Plaza, a luxury high-rise development on Central Park North that will change the face of Harlem forever. There’s only one thing in his way: his cousin Avery has inherited a share of the property. She’s more than willing to sell until a reporter uncovers the truth behind the rumored shady dealings . . .

In Uptown a prominent Harlem family is strained to the breaking point by the high-stakes world of the Manhattan real estate industry, and one woman searches for her identity and the will to forgive. Steamy, provocative, and sexy, Uptown is a turbulent and triumphant read.
  • Touchstone | 
  • 352 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439137765 | 
  • March 2010
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Uptown includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with authors Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant. 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.


Bestselling authors Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant are back with a tale of scandal, sex, ambition, betrayal, greed, and politics. Set in the high- power, high- stakes world of Manhattan real estate, Uptown delves into the complex lives of a wealthy and aristocratic African-American family in Harlem. In the center of the story are Avery Lyons and Dwight Dixon, first cousins who grew up as close as brother and sister, but whose relationship was irreparably damaged by the devastating aftermath of one terrible night. When they must finally face each other after years of silence, family bonds are stretched to the breaking point.



1. We first meet Dwight in the prologue as he is announcing the construction of Dixon Plaza at a high- profile press conference. Dwight has to face a large crowd of protesters. Before you knew how he behaved after the incident at Brown, did you sympathize with Dwight? How did your perspective change after you see more

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About the Authors

Virginia DeBerry
Photograph by Bob Gore

Virginia DeBerry

Virginia DeBerry was a successful plus-size model, former Vice President of BB/LW modeling agency and served as editor-in-chief of Maxima magazine before becoming a novelist. DeBerry is a graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo. She currently resides in central New Jersey.

Donna Grant
Bill Wylie

Donna Grant

Donna Grant spent more than a decade as a model for catalogs and advertisements. Grant has been featured on the pages of Essence, McCalls, Family Circle, and Woman's Day, as well as appeared on Good Morning America, and Live with Regis and Kathy Lee. Grant served as the Managing Editor of Maxima before her writing career. A Brooklyn native, she is a graduate of New York University and still lives in the borough with her husband.