The growing metropolis of 1920s Denton, Texas and the evolution of race relations are examined in Lee Martin’s first full-length novel. Although the Civil War is long past, the white leaders of the community are not eager to accept the integration of the two races.
Little Jones is the leader of the nearby African American community known as Quakertown. A celebrated landscaper, Jones spends his days with the prominent families in town and often talks with Andrew Bell, a wealthy businessman. Bell, in coordination with the town council, plans to move Quakertown further away from Denton and asks for Jones’s help in convincing his community to accept this proposal. Jones is promised that he and his family can stay in their present home, where a park will be built to replace Quakertown.
As Jones campaigns through town, his daughter Camellia finds romance with a dashing newcomer, Ike Mattoon, who has his own difficulties. Camellia, the Quakertown schoolteacher, is eager to begin her life as Ike’s wife even as she harbors love for Mr. Bell’s son, Kizer.
Martin gently incorporates familial interactions, romance and violence in this entertaining and moving read demonstrating the need for tolerance and acceptance despite racial tensions.