– Book Jacket –
The Hammond Plantation is located on 350 acres of land in White Castle, Louisiana, and has been abandoned for 43 years. No one seems to want it, except a wretched half-sister and a rich oil baron who is siphoning oil from its gut. But there’s an heir out there and the Hammond Plantation is patiently waiting for her to come home.
However, Melba Hammond has no intentions of being that heir. She considers herself a half-breed, the illegitimate daughter of plantation owner George Hammond and his maid, Lucille Jeffries. Melba hates everything about White Castle. She’s spent too many afternoons running from school children who bullied her because her skin wasn’t dark enough, rumors about her mother’s relationship with George Hammond, all of which has left Melba scarred and insecure. When Melba marries and leaves behind her world of poverty, she vows never to return. And for the next twenty-nine years, there’s no reason to. Married to a gifted architect, she’s bathed in a world of wealth and upper-class social status and she doesn’t miss the hardship of her childhood.
When her husband, Daniel Chaveaux, dies unexpectedly on Thursday, December 23, 1999, Melba’s life is thrown into a tailspin. Spending years unsuccessfully trying to have a child, Daniel was the only family she had. At a crucial, pivotal moment when she finally feels strong enough to move forward, two letters force her to choose the lesser of two evils. Either return home to the ruins of White Castle, or live among the emotional ruins of her once perfect life.
Melba’s escape to Louisiana provides limited shelter for her mounting fears and disappointments. Her intent is to stay two days, leaving as she came–alone, and with her hate unscathed. As a storyteller exposes well-kept secrets, Melba gets caught up in the intrigue and begins to feel a part of something she never anticipated. A hate not her own tears her apart, but a love story reconciles her to a place she never considered home. Among all that she will discover, one problem will weigh heavy on her heart. Who will inherit the Hammond Plantation—a land she has come to love.