A warm and deceptively light story of recently widowed Tess coming to terms with bringing up her daughter without her husband. Set in Florida in the sixties, it deals with bereavement, love, friendship and prejudice.
The characters are believable and warm despite their flaws and eccentricities.
Crystal and Dinah had come to like Barone. He called them each Sweetheart, which they assumed he did because he couldn't remember who was who. They nicknamed him Senor Swanky. They liked how he teased Tessie and called her Dottie, though they never knew where that nickname originated. Mostly they liked that in his presence she laughed more and seemed lighter. He never asked them what they were doing in school, or any of the other usual grown-up-to-kid questions. Instead, he talked to them about painting and music and Jai Alai, and about what it was like to live in Paris in the early 1920s.