The debut novel from a writer of wry humor and warm humanity, Heart of Palm is an indelible portrait of a town and one dysfunctional, unforgettable family choosing between the enfolding familiarity of what it knows, and the promise of the new.
Heart of Palm
“Intelligence, heart, wit . . . Laura Lee Smith has all the tools and Heart of Palm is a very impressive first novel.” Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prizewinning author of Empire Falls
978-0-8021-2103-5 • $16.00 • Paperback • Apr. 2014
“An incandescent first novel set in the small town of Utina, Florida, whose inhabitants struggle to balance tradition and progress.” Abbe Wright, O Magazine
Arla Bolton had been warned never to marry a Bravo. From the country-club set in genteel St. Augustine, Florida, Arla gave it all up to marry Dean Bravo and move to Utina, best known for the trade in Palm Sunday palms and moonshine. Opportunity has passed by both Utina and the Bravos for decades, but Arla was young and in love and blind to how her choice would change her life. Now Dean is gone and she shares a ramshackle waterfront house with her willful daughter, Sofia, nursing her losses and wondering if Dean’s doing the same wherever he is. Frank, her dutiful middle son, manages the family restaurant without complaint, while he dreams of escaping the Florida heat to cool mountain rivers, and dreams of his brother Carson’s wife, Elizabeth, whom he’s loved since adolescence.
In short, the Bravos are due a breakand when the phone rings one fourth of July, it seems a developer wants to bring progress to Utina at last, provided the Bravos agree. But are they ready? Ready or not, it seems the phone call has set off a chain reaction. Two surprise arrivals, one late-blooming love story, one hedge fund scam, a truck full of melted Key lime pies, and a bittersweet reckoning or two later, Heart of Palm reveals what happens when opportunity knocks, tempers ignite, and long-buried secrets are unearthed.