Anne Rivers Siddons
Since her mother left and her dear brother died, Emily Parmenter, 12, walks around Sweetwater Farm on eggshells, unnoticed by what's left of her family. Her only friend is her dog, Elvis, one of the Boykin spaniels her family raises.
Her older twin brothers are mindless teens, and her father dreams of being accepted into society using the sale of his hunting dogs as entree. Highly intuitive, especially with animals, Emily trains the puppies, aching, as only a preteen can, for attention and acceptance even as she fears the world beyond Sweetwater.
This fateful summer, a couple with good connections visits Sweetwater to purchase a dog, bringing along their college-age daughter, Lulu. Slim as a willow but brittle as glass, Lulu is enchanted with the dogs and the farm and Emily's father invites her to live with them as a favor to her parents.
Emily knows Lulu will bring change, and she resists it, and sure enough, Lulu has her demons. Just as the Parmenters, with Lulu's help, seemingly reach their goal of being accepted into South Carolina society, Lulu succumbs to the darkness inside her, leaving Emily devastated and the family high and dry…