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In 2004, New York City-based interior designer Celia Friday returns to her native Mississippi to clear out a storage unit full of boxes from her recently-deceased mother’s attic. Accompanying her on the trip is her business partner and best friend, Huey LaFleur, who has come along to help with the task, provide comic relief, and experience the Deep South for his first time ever. Recollections from Celia’s life in New York, where she has often been criticized by “Yankees” for her state’s racist past, are juxtaposed with flashbacks to her high school days, when she was the only white girl on an otherwise all-black basketball team. Humorous anecdotes of her hapless dating life, accounts of harrowing childhood experiences in a church where she struggled with bullying and proselytism, hilarious hometown characters, huge secrets kept, heartbreak, and a hint of the mystical are all masterfully woven into a life story that will make the reader laugh, cry, remember when, and wonder.

The Matchstick Cross by Laurie Parker

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