He done her wrong. But, possibly Brooks Carter didn’t do Nettie Gilbert any more wrong than her own sister, Jemma Renee (Sissy). Now Nettie’s mother expects her to attend the wedding of Brooks and Sissy and be happy for their expected little one. Well, Nettie will have nothing to do with it. It’s the first time she actually stands against her mother’s wishes. She’s ready to leave Columbia College in South Carolina and go anywhere but home to Satsuma, AL. With her dream of studying music tossed behind her, she finds a job as a caregiver in Camden, SC for sisters Emily and Lurleen Eldridge. Actually, it’s Lurleen who is dying that insists on Nettie. Lurleen truthfully tells Nettie, “My sister will try to run you off like a stray dog, but I want you to promise me you won’t go.” Nettie promises. Then, she experiences how difficult life can really be with Emily.
But, not all things are difficult. Lurleen’s doctor, Remmy Wilkes, is attractive. Likewise, he finds Nettie very attractive. He comes in the evening when the sisters have retired to bed; he and Nettie get to know each other on the porch swing. Romance could blossom … but would it? Nettie’s heart had been broken; how can she trust another?
The story is set in 1953. Most of the chapters are from Nettie’s first person perspective, with several sections told in third person through Lurleen, Emily, and Remmy. Kim Boykin is so very talented with slowly pulling back the layers of these well-drawn and fascinating characters. As it turns out, Nettie is not the only one with secrets. It’s such an enjoyable and comfortable read. I could easily see this story as a feel-good movie which in my opinion would provide warmth and satisfaction on the level of Fried Green Tomatoes. Rating: 5 out of 5.