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Eighteen-year-old Callie and her 20-year-old sister Emmy Bullock share a deep bond despite their different personalities. Emmy has a tender heart, while Callie has a wandering heart. Emmy is anticipating marriage to her beloved Knox, while Callie can’t imagine finding a man who would love her as she is.

The Bullock’s Alabama household follows the social routines and strictures of their early twentieth-century community, hosting teas and other events in their luxurious home. However, theirs is a family, unlike some in the community, that has left behind the ways of the old South and begun to integrate with Black people. Or have they? Does veiled racism still blemish their home and hearts?

The Bullock’s housekeeper Hepsy is loved and respected by the family. When Hepsy’s granddaughter, Lily McGee, arrives in the community, her exquisite beauty and lovely singing voice draw unwanted attention from a malevolent source. When Lily, recently widowed, gives birth to a girl she names Josephine, the Bullocks do all they can to protect the mother and daughter, recognizing Lily’s vulnerability as a Black woman with no resources caring for a newborn.

When Lily, Josephine, and a Black man who has befriended them go missing, and, at the same time, Callie loses her memory for a period of time, a chain of confusing events is unleashed. Slowly, patchy images begin to return to Callie’s consciousness and she remembers seeing Emmy standing by the riverbank holding Josephine, walking into the water, and returning without the baby. When perplexity and fright continue to plague Callie, her parents send her to a resort for help. While there, Callie begins to wonder, “What if I saw something I wasn’t supposed to see? Or something I didn’t want to see? Would my mind try to block it out?”

In this suspenseful novel for adults, which includes romance, subtle critique of the insidiousness of racism and a satisfying plot, readers will encounter a protagonist who, while struggling to discover where she belongs, finds love, trust and a hopeful future. (Revell)

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