Florence is, by all accounts, a happy, spirited girl. She doesn't understand why her father leaves each night with a mysterious box or why her mama drinks so much. What Florence knows are sultry days spent with her grandparents, being cared for by their maid, Zenie, on the colored side of town.
Tension builds during the summer of 1963. Mama bakes cakes at all hours to scrape by. And Zenie's niece Eva is in town, selling insurance to the blacks and stepping on Mr. Forrest's toes. When Eva is brutally assaulted, all hell breaks loose: Mama crashes her car, Florence's grandfather dies, a woman is murdered, and Florence finally gets a look in Daddy's box.
Florence sees things that summer that she won't understand for years to come: her mother's disappearance, her father's racism. Years later, she'll face the truth and how she was caught in the middle of it. The Queen of Palmyra is rich in both setting and characters. It's an affecting tale of a girl who is loved yet lost, trying to make sense of the world in a tumultuous time, finally forced to confront the sins of her father.
"Holds the reader spellbound...."
Lee Smith, author of Mrs. Darcy and the Blue-eyed Stranger