"Mama didn't know what made Cleo so wild. Cleo got more of her attention than all of her other children put together. God help her when she grew up. God help the man who married her. God help her sisters not to follow in her footsteps."
Cleo's marriage to Bart Judson is her ticket to higher things. Not for her the lifetime of hard work and poverty that her mother had known, or the invisibility which white society usually hands out to Black people. With Bart's money and her pale skin, Cleo intends to make use of the gifts in her favour - her "charming insincerity" and his generosity will see to that. Carefully manipulating the power which, since childhood, she has enjoyed in the face of others' weakness, she will stop at nothing to win a place for herself, her daughter and her sisters' children in Boston's Black society... First published in 1948, this powerful, vibrant portrait of a woman for whom social respectability can never have too high a price, is also a gripping account of the way in which prejudice and racism affect her - as both victim and oppressor. (From the back cover of the VMC edition.)