"Intelligence, heart, wit . . . Laura Smith has all the tools, and HEARTS OF PALM is a very impressive first novel." – Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize-winninng author of EMPIRE FALLS
HEART OF PALM is set in a small, down-at-the-heels Southern town, peopled with an eccentric cast of characters. The novel centers on the Bravo family, longtime residents of Utina, Florida and as much a part of the local culture as crawfish and cypress swamps.
Arla, the strong-willed and unforgettable matriarch, turned her back on her blue-blooded heritage to enter into a doomed marriage. She lives in an emotionally charged co-dependant relationship with her fragile daughter, Sofia. Frank, Arla’s younger son, runs the family’s struggling seafood restaurant, while his brother, Carson, married to a woman Frank has always loved, has left the family business to manage his own investment firm.
When real estate developers offer to buy the family’s property, both Carson and their wayward father, Dean, step in to claim their share. Tempers ignite, secrets are unearthed, and each of the Bravos is forced to confront the tragedies of their shared past.
(Available online: Prologue and Chapter One; a note from the author on how she came to write this novel.)