Mary-Esther Sloat is a woman with a patchwork past: three failed marriages, misspent youth, and a series of dead-end jobs. When she attempts to donate a kidney to her dying mother, she learns a life-altering truth: Loretta Boudreau Day is not her biological mother. After Loretta dies, Hurricane Katrina destroys Mary-Esther's only tie to New Orleans: her beloved Nana's house.
For a while, Mary-Esther lives in a battered Chevy van. Armed with a faded birth certificate, she finally corrals the courage to unravel the mystery of her birth at a small hospital in the panhandle of Florida. When she finds the site of the hospital, she is dismayed to learn it now houses the Gadsden County Sheriff's office. Sergeant Jerry Blount befriends Mary-Esther and helps her locate a retired nurse who once worked at the small hospital. After meeting with the senior in a nearby assisted-living facility, Mary-Esther visits the county courthouse to research records for children born on the same date. She discovers a baby girl with a similar last name, Sarah Davis of Chattahoochee, a small town in the same county.
Hattie Davis Lewis lives with her husband Holston and adopted child Sarah Chuntian Lewis in the old family homestead three miles south of Chattahoochee. She often thinks of her older sister, a child also named Sarah who died shortly after birth. Hattie's older brother Bobby Davis, his wife, and son live nearby on the family land. Bobby battles his own demons that threaten his hard-won sobriety.
Mary-Esther camps out in her van at a lake near Chattahoochee, hesitant at first to confront the family she suspects to be her own. Instead of welcoming arms, Mary-Esther finds a clannish community and a brother determined to keep her from claiming her birthright.
How can she blend the person she believed she was with the person she never had the chance to be?
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Separated at birth