The “spellbinding tale” of an Alabama family and a troubled teenage orphan: “eloquent evidence that Southern storytelling is indeed a very special art form” (The New York Times Book Review).
In the 1940s, Coden, Alabama was a hideaway for movie stars—an isolated playground tucked among live oaks and placid bay waters where pleasure and vice could be indulged. By the summer of 1974 Coden's glamour has faded, but it doesn't bother Mimi Bosarge, who is just happy to have a job as a live-in tutor with the wealthiest family in town, the Hendersons. When the Hendersons generously open their arms to Annie, a troubled teenager with no recollection of her past, Mimi's greatest concern is creating a curriculum for the family's new ward.
But it soon becomes obvious that something is wrong. Annie seems suspiciously savvy for her young age, and Mimi can't quell the unnerving sense that there is something malicious about the waiflike beauty.