Ms. Richards once again takes readers into the turbulent environment of Louisiana prior to the mid '60s. This emotionally charged tale brings together very different characters, and deals with tough issues.

Aurore Gerritsen kept many secrets. In Ms. Richards' last book, Iron Lace, Aurore told her story to one man. Now, at the reading of her will in 1965, seven others have gathered to hear her tale. The will requires those present to stay for four days with a portion of her will being read every day, as a complex puzzle begins to come together.

Dawn Gerritsen had been pulled in every direction for as long as she can remember. As a child, she was stretched between her mother and grandmother. As a teenager, her father, Senator Ferris Lee Gerritsen, and her uncle Father Hugh, a priest fighting for civil rights, vied for her commitment on two very different sides of an issue. Now, she is still torn between family loyalties and love for a man she thought she lost.

Phillip Benedict had been the one to hear Aurore's story before she died. Her secrets directly affected his life. Now his mother and step-father are called for the reading of the will, though neither knows why. They only know it is very uncomfortable being blacks in the home of Ferris Lee Gerritsen's family when he certainly does not want them there.

Each person knows a part of the story. Together they will be forced to look at the whole.

(May, 480 pp. $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Debbie Richardson