If you are familiar with the titular TV series aired on OWN, then you know this is a
story that must be read. However, be prepared for major differences. Davis is not a cheating basketball player, Micah is a girl but still has a knack for photography, and Charlie is not the self-possessed woman with great business acumen. Ralph Angel is not redeemable and there is no Nova(gasp)!. Notwithstanding, the tale is still very much family-focused.
Charlie Bordelon is making a big change, she is taking her daughter to St. Joseph, New Orleans to take over the running of a sugar cane farm left to her by her father. The only problem, Charlie is no farmer, however decides to put aside her misgivings and take on this new chapter in her life. There are obstacles to overcome, the first being, who will be able to guide her through the cane season and getting her 800-acre farm ready for the harvest. After losing her manager, Charlie struggles to find someone to help her save the farm. Enter Prosper Denton, retired farmer with a mind made for solving problems in unique and innovative ways. With his mentorship and partnership, her family's support, Charlie begins to see the light at the end of the sugar grinder. But nature has a couple surprises and a particularly nasty and misogynistic Jacques Landry and his boss would love for her to fail. Meanwhile, Micah is struggling with resentment for the move and her burgeoning emotions as a pre-teen.
At a small family reunion, Charlie, her aunt Violet, Uncle-brother and cousin John are all surprised at the arrival of Ralph Angel(Charlie's half-brother) and his son Blue. Their grandmother, Ms. Honey planned it all as a surprise. However, as we find out later, the relationship is strained between Ralph Angel and the rest of the family because of his past actions and treatment of Ms. Honey.
Ralph Angel is dealing with a damaged psyche, he lost his wife to a shared drug problem, he was estranged from his father, and felt as though Charlie was the only one to receive love and attention from him. He is a broken and angry man with a rather inflated opinion of himself and his skills and believes that he should have inherited the farm. This all boils over in a stolen statue, a family confrontation in which someone is shot and injured, his friend Hollywood demeaned and humiliated and a death.
I really wanted Ralph Angel to heal by the end of this book, however his lack of owning up to his past mistakes and taking responsibility for his actions really frustrated me. Ms. Honey's tendency of enabling him and her blind loyalty to him were also huge sources of aggravation for me. The only spot of likeability for me regarding Ralph Angel was the love he had for Blue.
By the end of this book, I had gone through moments of understanding, happiness, sadness, anger and sympathy. The strength of this family in good times and bad and their bond helped to further solidify their family unit.