Drew certainly had not planned to fall in love that morning.
He had not planned to make a new friend. He had not even wanted to talk to anyone.
He had resisted all of Amy’s attempts to draw him out− at the hotel, at the airport, on the airplane− giving hurried responses and burying his face in a pile of papers. But when the flight attendant offered coffee, and a muscle in Amy’s back twitched as she reached for it, and the cup tipped, and the hot liquid puddled in Drew’s lap, then they began to talk!
Earlier in the year, each had lost a spouse of over thirty years. Drew’s wife had died of a brain tumor, Amy’s husband when his small airplane nose-dived to earth, the engine at full throttle − an accident, it was ruled, although she’d charged him with adultery earlier the same day.
They live in the same city. Both have grandchildren. They are about the same age. Consciously, or not, they both are looking to love again.
Drew is wealthy, and Amy is middle class. Amy is “new” in town – she and her husband moved to Charleston twenty-five years ago – while Drew’s family has lived there for three centuries. Drew lives below Broad, a code word for high society, old families, power, and money. Amy’s home is across the river.
Class warfare may be less violent than it was in the past, but when Drew invites Amy to the St Cecelia Ball, battle lines are drawn. In a city in which ancestry is important, the ball’s membership is passed from father to son, and only those from the oldest families attend.
Family, friends, and co-workers all weigh in on their relationship and choose sides. Allies are found in unexpected places. Opposition comes from among those who were thought to be friends. As the conflict mounts, Amy learns that her deceased husband has attempted to “rule from the grave” through provisions in his Will that make one final attempt to humiliate her in public.
Amy concludes that all men are copies of her husband. She begins to suspect that Drew is one of them, the rich snobs who despise her. Drew begins to feel that Amy neither trusts him nor cares for him. Unless Amy is able to see Drew, not as a copy of the husband who betrayed her and not as a clone of those who look down on her, but simply as a man who loves her, she will lose it all − Drew, her chance for happiness, and her opportunity to love again.
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We recently moved to our new home near Charleston, South Carolina. Three of my four books are set in Charleston, and I’ve always enjoyed the Carolina beaches. I now have the opportunity to walk on the beach almost every day and to photography the ocean, the sea birds, and the marshes that I love.
I love photography, and I have photographed subjects as varied as prehistoric ruins on the islands of Scotland, star trails, sea gulls, and a Native American powwow. My wife and I have traveled widely in the United States and the United Kingdom. During trips to Scotland, we visited Crathes Castle, the ancestral home of the Burnett family near Aberdeen, and Kismul Castle on Barra, the home of my McNeil ancestors.
I went to school for much longer than I want to admit, and I have degrees in psychology and education. In an “earlier life” I was director of research for our state’s education department.