Each of the Cates sisters had felt for a time that her husband should be put away where others could take care of him....
So begins the powerful, empowering journey of three women who decide to get a fresh start on life -- and embark upon a plan to place their men in care facilities.
Daughters of a prominent African American family, Rebecca, Claudia, and Gracelyn Cates are ready to leave their ailing husbands -- no match for their wives in their unusual vigor, strong constitutions, and mental energy -- behind. And if they play their cards right, the Cates sisters will keep their good names intact, despite the Old Testament rantings of their Baptist pastor and relentlessly gossiping neighbors in their small-town world of Peoria, Illinois.
Claudia, instructed by eldest sister Rebecca to be more outgoing, enchants her parochial neighbors with her urbane chic. Gracelyn stages a Sunday school play about Harriet Tubman. And when Hillary Clinton appears at a churchwomen's tea party they're hosting, the Cates sisters establish themselves as indisputable leaders of their community. United in their purpose, the Cates women transcend the hand fate dealt them and find themselves anew...with the possibility of midlife romance. An unforgettable story of love, loss, and sisterly devotion, Laelia is a tale about the ties that bind and liberate us all.
Ruth-Miriam Garnett is a graduate of Harvard University. She is the author of a collection of poetry, A Move Further South, and the recipient of many grants and awards for writing, including a creative writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. A native of Webster Groves, Missouri, she divides her time between New York City and St. Louis, Missouri.
Publisher: Washington Square Press (October 19, 2004)