Lillian's world is full of grand parties, of sunshine and promises, as thrilling as the fairy tales Mama spins for her and her little sister, Eugenia. No one, not even her cold, stern Papa and her Bible spouting sister Emily, can crush her spirits -- until the day Emily reveals the shattering secret at Lillian's birth, a secret Mama sadly cannot deny. Still Lillian refuses to believe Emily's hateful claim that she is evil, a curse...even when sweet, gentle Eugenia loses her fragile hold on life, and Mama retreats further into her fantasies. But when tragedy befalls her best friend, the one boy whose tender heart mirrors her own, Lillian comes to believe Emily's grim words. Meekly, she endures her penance, finding a strange solace in the endless repetition of prayers in a room stripped of all comforts. Lillian's heart is torn anew when, in a drunken haze, Papa subjects her to the most brutal degradation. Then Papa loses The Meadows in a card game, and Lillian is faced with a new and terrifying prospect. Arrogant, handsome playboy Bill Cutler will return the plantation -- if Lillian will marry him! Now Lillian must leave her girlhood home behind, and make a bold new beginning as the mistress of a hotel called Cutler's Cove...
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I've always thought of myself as a Cinderella who never had a prince come with a glass slipper to whisk her away to a wonderful life. Instead of a prince, I had a businessman who won me in a card game, and just like a chip that is tossed across the table, I was tossed from one world into another.
But that had always been my destiny, right from the day I was born. It wouldn't change until I was finally able to change it myself, following the philosophy an old black laborer at The Meadows told me when I was a little girl. His name was Henry Patton and he had hair so white it looked like a patch of snow. I would sit with him... see more