Set in the antebellum South, over twenty years before the Civil War, this novel tells the story of Manon Gaudet, a bored, self-centered southern belle, sarcastic and sour instead of magnolia blossom sweet.
When she came to her husband’s sugar plantation, she brought her slave Sarah with her to serve as her personal maid. She didn’t count on her husband falling in love with Sarah. He refuses the girl permission to marry the man she loves and forces her to become his mistress instead. She bears him two children—deaf Walter and ugly Nell—while his wife, Manon, remains barren and her hatred for her husband and Sarah grows and festers.
It all comes to a head during a slave rebellion and cholera epidemic. And if you’re curious enough to pick up this engrossing little novel, you know I don’t want to spoil the ending for you.