|Set in Copper Lake Georgia, this story is rich in the traditions of the very Deep South. As in many southern rural towns, one finds the “old ruling” family, in this story, the Calloways, populated by descendants of the original plantation or large farm owner now functioning as doctors, lawyers, and town officials. And the plantation workers, many now of mixed race, are living their lives integrated into the economy of small town living.
Some have moved on to larger cities and Anamaria Duquesne numbers among those. Her move was not voluntary, as she was taken by her grandmother to live with her when her mother died when she was five years old. The death of her mother, Glory, was mysterious at best, as she was found by the lake side dead, but the remains of the infant child she had not yet delivered were never found. It was presumed, although never proven, that she had given birth by herself, and that the child had been washed away.
Grandmother Duquesne aka Mama Odette is in ill health and fretting about the death of her child Glory, so Anamarie has returned to Copper Lake to investigate and to try to find some closure for her grandmother.
The Duquesne family has been a family of single women…traditionally never marrying and always giving birth out of wedlock to daughters. Each Duquesne has some small form of a psychic phenomena given to tarot, palmistry etc. Glory had been a palm reader while alive, and her daughter Anamarie makes her living in Savannah doing the same. Descendants of slaves owned by the Calloways, their family lives have been intermixed for generations.
Anamarie’s return does not go unnoticed as Harrison Calloway hires attorney Robbie Calloway to keep an eye on Anamarie to see what she is really doing in town. Harrison’s wife Lydia had been one of Glory’s clients and one of the last people to see her alive.
Robbie Calloway and Anamarie are grudgingly initially attracted to each other, and tensions mount when it is realized that someone does not want Anamarie snooping around. They are thrown together when Robbie’s protective nature kicks in as he reluctantly joins Anamarie in her hunt for what really happened to her mother.
Marilyn Pappano is well known for excelling at character development, and she does not disappoint in this story. Addressing the issue of mixed race attractions and marriage in the deep rural South head on, she manages to bring credibility to 21st century living.
Pacing varies between indolent and fast, as Pappano adroitly blends characters from the extreme ends of the social scale, in an area where socio-economic hierarchy is one of the most important realities of life. For those readers unfamiliar with the South, the dialog greatly assists the author in portraying issues with which she is clearly familiar.
Scandal in Copper Lake gets a strong recommendation.