Julie Maries (Jules) Fuller returns to her hometown of Ekron, North Carolina to be with her mother who is dying. Jules has put her life in the film industry in Los Angeles on hold to nurse her mother, but she also hopes her mother will show her how to be a good mother to the baby she is carrying. Jules’ mother dies too quickly to help her, and Jules soon finds that she is facing a challenge greater than single parenthood. A young boy who is in a class where she has been a guest teacher accuses her of making sexual advances.
The accusation against Jules spreads fast across the little town. The locals start to talk, not just about this incident, but also about other things about the Fullers that have been problematic to some people: Mr. Fuller’s drinking and accidental death, Jules’ “wild” youth, her brother Lincoln’s homosexuality. Jules has her defenders, including her brother, her high school boyfriend, and the uncle of the boy making the accusation. Soon the reader finds that the men and their families are connected to Jules’, and that the Fullers are not the only family in Ekron with turmoil and secrets.
The author handles some difficult material–family violence, child sexual abuse, intolerance, and the cruelty of gossip–with grace, producing a rewarding novel in which several characters find their way to emotional maturity and peace with the past.
Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.