In Kim Boykin’s latest Southern-steeped novel, Palmetto Moon, a young woman struggles for independence and the right to choose her own life path in 1947 South Carolina.
Vada Hadley is young, beautiful, college-educated and determined to choose a future that is certain to shock her very rich, privileged parents in post-war Charleston, South Carolina. Before she can move forward, however, she must summon the courage to walk away from the society wedding of the year—her own. To do so will disappoint her mother, outrage her father and deeply annoy her wealthy fiancé.
Vada decides she really has no choice but to run away—and run she does, all the way to Round O, fifty miles south of Charleston. The tiny town sits at a country crossroads, and here, Vada is offered a position as a schoolteacher. It’s the perfect place to hide from her parents and fiancé while she considers the choices before her. In this small rural community, she will make her stand for independence.
She never expected to fall in love.
Frank Darling grew up in Round O and couldn’t wait to escape into the world beyond its confines. Fate, however, had other ideas, and he finds himself caught in the dull routine of running the family diner. At 28, he sees no hope for his future—until Vada walks into the diner. One look, and he’s entranced. Vada is equally charmed by the handsome young man; his calloused hands and open, honest manner are quite different from the entitled boys in her parents’ elite social circle.
While Vada and Frank are getting to know each other, she’s also growing closer to fellow boarding house resident Claire, a widow with three adorable boys. Both women are facing cataclysmic life changes and struggling to come to terms with the choices they must make.
As Vada grows more involved with the small town’s residents, she risks exposing the secrets behind her arrival that she has yet to share. Frank, Vada and Claire each have their own untold stories, but the question is, how will they respond when each closely guarded truth is finally disclosed?
Boykin does a marvelous job of depicting life in post-war America. The details of cars, clothing, dusty country roads and small town life are evocative of the late 1940s, and the people are drawn with depth and insight. Readers will fall in love with Frank, be charmed by Vada and cheer for Claire and her boys. An extra bonus in this excellent novel is the inclusion of recipes for the mouthwatering Lowcountry food described throughout.
Lois Dyer writes from her home in Port Orchard, Washington