1947 Charleston is the setting for Palmetto Moon. Vada Hadley is a young woman who is to be married to a man she despises. She tries desperately to figure a way out but the only way is to run. Run she does but not too far from home to a little town not far from Charleston. She moves in to a boarding house with very little money and is accepted for a position as teacher. While living in the boarding house she meets Claire, a young widow with three little boys who is looking for a man to help her raise her two boys. Frank Darling runs the local restaurant and falls in love immediately the first time he sees Vada. They each have their own secrets but start seeing each other romantically. Vada is also looking for Darby, a longtime friend, who Vada wants to reconnect with and make sure she is doing well.
In the meantime Vada's father and ex fiance, Justin, are looking for Vada and do eventually find her. Will she go back with them and marry Justin or will she go where her heart is? Well for the answer, you need to read the book and find out. I liked Vada because even though this is 1947, just after the war, where woman, especially in the South, have strict rules to follow. They do what their fathers require, marry the man that generally is picked by the father, an arranged marriage if you will. Vada is a strong character and wants to lead her own life even if that means being estranged from her accustomed way of life. Frank Darling is a hard working average man who will do anything for Vada. I did not like Justin at all, a pompous jerk, not at all what Vada needs for a life partner.
This is a character driven novel that depicts life in the south, not only with its prejudices and hatred. Characters who are full of life and meaning, who will grab your heartstrings. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.