The daughter of a mixed marriage between an attorney and a powerful U.S. senator from a Kennedy-style family cannot stand the restrictions put on her life.
Cecilia was nearly kidnapped when she was a child, and ever since, her white mother, one of Massachusetts’ senators, has completely controlled her life. She lives in a private room at an exclusive boarding school, watched over constantly by a bodyguard. Her mother tells her what to study and even dictates her hobbies. At her black grandmother’s funeral, Cecilia takes advantage of an opportunity to escape and makes her way to Sweetbriar, Tennessee, where her grandmother had lived years ago and where she is readily accepted. Calling herself Lia and bleaching her hair blonde, she finds a waitressing job and a shared apartment on her first night. She also meets white Jasper, apparently the town rake, who instantly captivates her. Sadly, bitchy, Asian Shelby claims him, but of course Jasper’s attracted to Lia, triggering drama. Lia’s cold, careerist mother and passive father defy credulity, as does the fact that race is apparently a nonissue in this small Tennessee town—and indeed to Lia’s sense of self. Writing white as a default despite her biracial narrator, Harrison focuses on standard romance themes, using standard romance clichés.
Ho-hum. (Romance. 12-18)