Harper Wolfe never intended to return for an extended period to his place of birth in Kellersville, Alabama. Now a successful mystery writer, he lives in California where he moved after divorcing his childhood sweetheart, Nan.
When he finds out that Nan is dying, he returns home to be with her and reconnects with his now-teenage son, PK. Because he will eventually have full custody of PK and plans to relocate him to Palm Springs, he faces several significant hurdles. Harper and PK have spent a month together each summer, but neither Harper nor Nan has told their son that his father is gay. Their time together has been wonderful, but in reality, they don’t know each other very well because PK was only nine years old when Harper and Nan separated. In addition, living in the house with Hank, Nan’s second husband, because Harper has harbored a secret crush on him since the three of them taught together at the local high school.
Another significant challenge for Harper is dealing with his Aunt Clairisse, a master manipulator who rules the family with an iron hand. Because she controls the purse strings of the family business, her son and daughter bow to her every command. Harper is forced into a showdown with Clairisse.
Death is an unwelcomed visitor to the family reunion; unfortunately not all demises are of natural causes. Family skeletons come out of many closets, and secrets are revealed to mixed reactions and emotions.
Harper experiences his hometown from a new and interesting, if not tragic, point of view. Although he is definitely not an outsider, his perspective is a combination of native son and visitor. As he reacquaints himself with this rural village’s traditions and eccentric residents, he sees both the vicious and comical sides of Southern life and customs, which not so long ago were part of his everyday life.