When we first meet Tessie Lockhart in 1958, she is pinning her hair into a French twist, dabbing Jean Naté on her wrists, and getting ready to change her life. This widowed mother of a thirteen-year-old has decided it's time for a fresh start for both of them, time to leave behind Carbondale, Illinois, and the pain of loss. Tessie and her daughter move to Gainesville, Florida, where they discover that they aren't the only ones struggling to move forward in the wake of tremendous grief.
Betsy Carter has perfectly captured both the innocence of the 1950s, when even the complex events of our lives seemed somehow easier to endure, and the startling and irreversible changes of the 1960s. A story about the relationships people develop in the face of loss, The Orange Blossom Special introduces us to a remarkable cast of characters, all of whom are tested—and transformed—by the changes in their midst.
In her own touching and funny style, Carter shows us the unexpected ways in which strangers can become family.