From Publishers Weekly
Gilmore's lackluster second effort (after Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen) never manages to find its way out of humdrum territory. In 1960s Nashville, Bezellia Grove, the darling teenage daughter of an important family, has a henpecked father who spends all his time at work, and a status-obsessed mother who has no problem verbally savaging Maizelle Cooper and Nathaniel Stephenson, the black hired help whom Bezellia considers kin. Everyone is alarmed when obvious sparks fly between Bezellia and Nathaniel's son, Samuel; though Bezellia loves him, they are kept apart, and when Bezellia's not shielding her younger sister from their mother's drunken rages, she frolics with Ruddy Semple, a young man from the wrong sort of family. After Bezellia heads to college and her horizons are expectedly expanded, fortunes are lost and secrets are revealed, some entirely out of left field and others without narrative purpose. This very mixed bag contains just about every half-baked trope of Southern women's fiction, but it doesn't do anything new with the material.
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Bezellia Grove, who is one of a long line of Bezellia Groves in one of Nashville’s oldest families, dreams of someday living up to the name that looms so large in her heritage. But her family is not as stable as everyone thinks. Her mother is strict and proper, when not drinking, and her father is never home, preferring to work long hours. Bezellia and her younger sister are raised by the household servants, Nathaniel and Maizelle, who are more like parents to them than their real ones. When Nathaniel’s smart, good-looking son Samuel appears, Bezellia is completely smitten. But the South in the 1960s is not a welcoming place for Samuel, especially when he falls in love with a white woman. Bezellia must decide whether it’s her heart or her heritage that is most important. Gilmore’s second novel (after Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen, 2008) is a highly emotional story that vividly evokes a sense of place, the 1960s era, and the heady feelings of first love. --Hilary Hatton