It took me a couple chapters to figure out what was going on but I am so glad I stuck to it. Great book! From the back:
All her life, Epiphany Jones has been tossed like a dandelion seed on the wind. Now, with the death of Mrs. Lora-the family friend who took Epie into her home-the sixteen-year-old must move to Dallas to live with her indifferent mother and new stepfather. Trapped in the low-rent area of blue Sky Hill, Epie doesn't fit in-and soon finds herself on the wrong side of the law. To make restitution., she's sent to work in another place she's not wanted: a home on the upscale streets of the Hill.
When J. Norman Alvord learns that his daughter has hired a teenager to stay with him in the afternoons, he's determined to nix the arrangement. Widowed and suffering from heart trouble, Norman wants to be left alone. But in Epie's presence, Norman finds a mystery. Deep in his mind lie memories of another house, another life, and a young black woman, a housekeeper, who saved him...
As summer comes to Blue Sky Hill, two residents from different worlds will journey through a turbulent past and find that with an unexpected road trip through sleepy Southern towns come a life-changing friendship... and clues to a family secret hidden for a lifetime.
A letter J. Norman wrote really touched me (this might be a bit of a spoiler so if you plan to read this book, hold off on reading the rest of this post). These are words he would say to a young father:
- When you hear the first whimper in the night, go to the nursery and leave your wife sleeping. Rock in a chair, walk the floor, sing a lullaby so that she will know a man can be gentle.
- When Mother is away for the evening, come home from work, do the babysitting. Learn to cook a hotdog or a pot of spaghetti, so that your daughter will know a man can serve another's needs.
- When she performs in school plays or dances in recitals, arrive early, sit in the front seat, devote your full attention. Clap the loudest so that she will know a man can have eyes only for her.
- When she asks for a tree house, don't just build it, but build it with her. Sit high among the branches and talk about clouds, and caterpillars, and leaves. Ask her about her dreams and wait for her answers, so that she will know a man can listen.
- When you pass by her door as she dresses for a date, tell her she is beautiful. Take her on a date yourself. Open doors, buy flowers, look her in the eye, so that she will know a man can respect her.
- When she moves away from home, send a card, write a note, call on the phone. If something reminds you of her, take a minute to tell her; so that she will know a man can think of her even when she is away.
- Tell her you love her, so that she will know a man can say the words.
- If you hurt her, apologize, so that she will know a man can admit that he's wrong...