Published 10th March 2020 by Headline Review.
Read March 2020.
Oak Hill, North Carolina: A leafy, respectable neighbourhood, full of established family homes. A quiet and close knit community, where professor of forestry and ecology Valerie Alston-Holt has been raising her mixed race son as a single mother for the past eighteen years. Valerie is immensely proud of the fine, talented young man her son Xavier has grown into and she knows she is going to miss him terribly when he goes off to music college in San Francisco in the autumn.
All is well until the old house next door is knocked down and the garden full of trees razed to the ground, and instead, a huge, modern home, complete with pool and paved yard takes its place. along with a new kind of Oak Hill family - the Whitmans.
Although, on the surface, the Whitmans look like a traditional family unit, they are all about new money, flashy possessions and ambition, with a secretly troubled teenage daughter, Juniper. They have little in common with their near neighbours, the Alston-Holts - something that is clearly apparent from the off, when Mr Whitman mistakes Xavier for the hired help.
After an uncomfortable and tentative start, the neighbours reach a kind of peace, and it even seems that Mrs Whitman and Valerie can become friends, but they are soon at odds over the historic oak tree that lives in the Alston-Holt's garden. This tree is Valerie's pride and joy and it has been damaged by the construction of the Whitman's property, so she initiates a law suit against the city, builder and crucially, against the Whitmans.
In the face of the legal battle and strained relations, no one seems to notice a romance is developing between Xavier and Juniper. A romance that will lead to tragedy.
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