Fragile and panicky as a colt, Adelaide Abraham flies to the Caribbean island of St. Clair for the funeral of her childhood nanny. There, amidst sweltering heat and the swirling smells of fish and ganja, she encounters the scattered family her much-loved Louise left behind while caring for her in Connecticut. Alexandra Styron (daughter of novelist William) nimbly alternates Addy’s present and the rattled childhood that was smoothed and soothed by Louise. As Addy realizes just how little she figured into the life of her ”black mother,” she unearths her own subtle racism. It’s a gentle, pensive debut that pulls the reader along as breezily as a trade wind, and while the novel doesn’t say much new about race or the prickliness of love, its unspooling tale is positively vivid.
All the Finest Girls