Charley's father passes away and instead of leaving her money or properties in California, like she was anticipating, he leaves her a sugar cane farm in Louisiana, where he worked as a boy. I can only imagine Charley's reaction to be something like this:
A modern black woman who has spent her entire life in urban California, inherits a sugar cane farm in Louisiana, drops everything, and moves out (dragging her 11 year old kicking and screaming) there to try her hand at it. May I refer you to the above gif?
That was, in a nutshell, my reaction to the first few pages of the book: a good, old fashioned, dafuq moment. However, once I worked past my incredulity that a woman would do that, even one whose husband passed 4 years prior, I found myself begrudgingly really enjoying the book.
I found the family dynamic of Charley, her grandmother, aunt, and brother pretty interesting. I found the can farming even more so. I really enjoy the idea of someone stepping out of their comfort zone, overcoming great adversity and succeeding, even marginally in making themselves comfortable or happy. I know it sounds like a horrible cliche, and I suppose it is, but gorram, I found this book a rather comfy fit for a porch read - which is indeed where I read the bulk of it.
Sometimes the race aspects of the novel seemed a little forced and occasionally detracted from the story itself of triumph. But it did make for a much richer cast of characters. So, you win some, you lose some.
One of my issues with the book was actually the ending. The ending had a lot more to do with Charley's brother than I would have anticipated, considering there was so little build with him until the last third or so of the book. And then it just ended. I wasn't left satisfied with the ending. Sure, I've been less satisfied, but I felt like the ending was missing some "umph" that would have really made this book something special.
Overall, an enjoyable read however.
I'd suggest it as a beach read or a poolside read, since we are finally reaching that season!