On page 75, the plot finally kicks in:
A halo around the moon is always a sign of disruption. . .a double ring, all tangled and snarled. . .anything can happen. . .Trouble is just like love. . .it comes in unannounced and takes over. . .
Gillian shows up on Sally’s porch with her bad-boy, abusive boyfriend Jimmy’s dead body parked in his Oldsmobile:
Tall, dark, handsome, and dead.
Gillian is convinced she’s killed Jimmy. The sisters bury him under the lilacs which start blooming profusely ~ out of season ~ in July. Gillian gets a job at the Hamburger Shack and charms the local teenage boys as well as her niece.
If a woman is in trouble, she should always wear blue for protection.
Work. . .Hell with a paycheck.
All hell breaks loose in the last sections of the book. Jimmy’s ghost refuses to stay buried beneath the lilacs. And, we hear about the family matriarch Maria Owens, who mysteriously arrived in Massachusetts with a baby girl, a satchel, and a packet of diamonds:
. . .she never backed down or valued anyone’s opinion above her own.
The book is a delightful blend of magic, romance, and mystery swirling around a core of domestic violence. It seems everyone is happy that Jimmy is dead. He was mean and selfish:
. . .he liked it when she cried. When she cried, he knew he had won.
But, he doesn’t win in the end. Sally and Gillian’s victories are practical magic.