The only family Ruby Landry has ever known are her loving guardian, Grandmère Catherine, a Cajun spiritual healer, and her drunken, outcast Grandpèrb Jack. Although thinking about her dead mother and mysterious father sometimes makes her feel as mournful as the wind sighing through the Spanish moss, Ruby is grateful for all she has. Her life is filled with hope and promise...especially when her attraction for handsome Paul Tate blossoms into a mysterious, wonderful love. But Paul's wealthy parents forbid him to associate with a poor Landry, and Grandmère urges her to follow her dream of becoming a great painter, foreseeing a time when Ruby will be surrounded with riches in the dazzling city of New Orleans! Yet she cannot know how close that uncertain future looms....
In a faded photograph, Ruby glimpses for the first time the image of her father -- and learns of a shameful deception and a shocking scheme of blackmail that now must come to light. Stunned by these revelations, she is devastated when Grandmère dies, leaving her to seek out her father in his vast New Orleans mansion. There, in a house of lies, madness, and cruel torment, Ruby clings to her memories of Paul to keep her heart alive. For only their love can save her now....
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During the first fifteen years of my life, my birth and the events surrounding it were a mystery; as much a mystery as the number of stars that shone in the night sky over the bayou or where the silvery catfish hid on days when Grandpere couldn't catch one to save his life. I knew my mother only from the stories Grandmere Catherine and Grandpere Jack told me and from the few faded sepia photographs of her that we had in pewter frames. It seemed that for as long as I could remember, I always felt remorseful when I stood at her grave and gazed at the simple tombstone that read:
Born May 1,... see more