One orange-blossom-scented night in 1951, Reesa McMahon woke to find her world shattered by violence and hatred. Her friend and mentor, nineteen-year-old Marvin Culley, had been brutally murdered by the local Klan. The killing of this innocent black man, who worked in the McMahon's orange grove, will forever change Reesa's life and the life of everyone in the genteel town of Mayflower, Florida, pitting neighbor against neighbor in a conflict that would ultimately divide a nation.
Against this backdrop, Reesa draws strength from her indomitable grandmother "Doto," who drove hell-bent down from Chicago in her new blue DeSoto...Warren, her slow-to-anger Yankee father, who never quite fit in to the closed society of Good 'Ol Boy citrus growers...Miss Maybelle Mason, the elderly postmistress, who knew a rattlesnake when she saw one-and the bitr of heartbreak as well-and Luther and Armetta and the black community of Mayflower. Through Reesa's painful search for meaning, we experience the unforgettable rites of passage of a young girl's and of a small town's shattering confrontation with racial prejudice, injustice, and-ultimately-truth.