It’s Labor Day weekend, 1935, and members of the Darling Dahlias—the garden club in little Darling, Alabama—are trying to keep their cool at the end of a sizzling summer. This isn’t easy, though, since there’s a firebug on the loose in Darling. He—or she!—strikes without apparent rhyme or reason, and things have gotten to the point where nobody feels safe. What’s more, a dangerous hurricane is poised to hurl itself in Darling’s direction, while a hurricane of a different sort is making a whirlwind campaign stop: the much-loved-much-hated senator from Louisiana, Huey P. Long, whom President Roosevelt calls the “most dangerous man in America.” Add Ophelia Snow’s secret heartthrob, Liz Lacy’s Yankee lover, and the Magnolia Ladies’ garden of red hot pokers, fire-red salvia, and hot pink cosmos, and you have a volatile mix that might just burst into flames at any moment.
Author Susan Wittig Albert has brought us another delightful assortment of richly human characters who face the challenges of the Great Depression with courage and grace. Her books remind us that friends offer the best of themselves to each other, community is what holds us together, and even when life seems too hot to handle, there’s always hope.