Soul kiss: a novel
, May 1, 1997
- 207 pages
The story begins with a bus ride from Manhattan, Kansas, to a small town in Georgia in 1968. Seven-year-old Mariah Kin Santos is on a trip with her beautiful, sad mama, just the two of them, as always. When they reach the porch of a tidy white house, her mother rings the doorbell, is greeted coolly by her two maiden aunts, conducts a brief, cryptic conversation with them, and then flees, leaving Mariah in the care of two old strangers who claim to be family. Mariah's mother, devastated by yet another failed love affair, is sliding out of control, and rather than endanger the adoration her little girl has for her, she abandons the child before the good memories go bad.
After a difficult start, Mariah and her aunts come to form a strangely harmonious threesome - soft, round Faith teaches Mariah to play the piano; strong, fierce Merleen teaches her to drive and to garden - but Mariah still dreams of her mother's glorious return and the far-off father she has never known. As a teenager nursing a nascent rebellion, she begins a flirtatious correspondence with him and before long travels to Los Angeles to confront the hero of her imagination. For his part, her father is suddenly face to face with a replica of the woman he loved passionately fourteen years earlier, and she is his daughter.