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The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove


The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove Cover

ISBN13: 9780307395047
ISBN10: 0307395049
Condition: Standard
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Nobody in Nashville has a bigger name to live up to than Bezellia Grove.  As a Grove, she belongs to one of city’s most prominent families and is expected to embrace her position in high society.  That means speaking fluent French, dancing at cotillions with boys from other important families, and mastering the art of the perfect smile. 


Also looming large is her given name Bezellia, which has been passed down for generations to the first daughter born to the eldest Grove.  The others in the long line of Bezellias shortened the ancestral name to Bee, Zee or Zell.  But Bezellia refuses all nicknames and dreams that one day she, too, will be remembered for her original namesake’s courage and passion.


Though she leads a life of privilege, being a Grove is far from easy.  Her mother hides her drinking but her alcoholism is hardly a secret.  Her father, who spends long hours at work, is distant and inaccessible.  For as long as she can remember, she’s been raised by Maizelle, the nanny, and Nathaniel, the handyman.  To Bezellia, Maizelle and Nathaniel are cherished family members.  To her parents, they will never be more than servants.  


Relationships are complicated in 1960s Nashville, where society remains neatly ordered by class, status and skin color.  Black servants aren’t supposed to eat at the same table as their white employers.  Black boys aren’t supposed to make conversation with white girls.  And they certainly aren’t supposed to fall in love.  When Bezellia has a clandestine affair with Nathaniel’s son, Samuel, their romance is met with anger and fear from both families.  In a time and place where rebelling against the rules carries a steep price, Bezellia Grove must decide which of her names will be the one that defines her.

From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

SUSAN GREGG GILMORE is the author of the novel Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen.  She has written for the Chattanooga Times Free Press, the Los Angeles Times and the Christian Science Monitor. Born in Nashville, she lives in Tennessee with her husband and three daughters.

From the Hardcover edition.

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McGuffy Ann, August 1, 2011 (view all comments by McGuffy Ann)
The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove

A Novel

By Susan Gregg Gilmore

In her second novel, Susan Gregg Gilmore takes us back to a time and place to tell an important story. In this novel we re-visit the American South of the 1950s-1960s. The book deals with issues of race, segregation, societal status and cultural situations.

We are introduced to the Grove family, a longtime, prominent and highly respected family of Nashville. Bezellia is named after a revered descendant of historical as well as family importance.

Bezellia strives to live up to familial expectations and societal obligations. She is very conscious of her place in the community and truly tries to abide by it. However it is an increasingly changing world, under turbulent times. Bezellia is also becoming aware of things, including the divisions of segregation.

While Bezellia’s immediate family confirms the many years of segregation, peripheral characters gain more importance both to Bezellia and the reader as the story unfolds.
As Bezellia comes of age with revelations of both self and family, the country is also coming of age within civil and political rights of culture and propriety.

Susan Gregg Gilmore has written an important book that has heart while remaining true to history.
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Product Details

Gilmore, Susan Gregg
Broadway Books
Gregg Gilmore, Susan
General Fiction
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
7.94 x 5.16 x 0.58 in 0.5 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Coming of Age
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Family Life

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