For more than a hundred years the Groves have been one of the first families of Nashville. Bezellia Grove, named for a famous ancestor, feels the pressure to live up to her mother’s expectations that she speak French fluently, learn to ballroom dance and behave like a proper lady.
But even prominent families have secrets, and the Groves do their best to hide Bezellia’s mother’s alcoholism and her father’s near estrangement. The family nanny, Maizelle, and the handyman, Nathaniel, do more to raise Bezellia and her sister than her parents do. As Bezellia grows up, she has to decide the kind of person she wants to become.
Set against the backdrop of Nashville during the Civil Rights movement and the Vietnam War, The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove by Susan Gregg Gilmore touches on issues of race, class, alcoholism, religion and love. Bezellia’s life, even though she has physical luxuries, is far from easy. And in making difficult choices through the years, she defines the kind of person she is and sets herself apart from her parents.
While this book is aimed at adults, girls aged 16 and up would enjoy reading it as well.