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When a young woman sells her father's masterpiece, a painting of her as a baby, but delivers what is discovered to be a copy instead, the art collector's retribution has tornadic consequences. As a child in small town Shallot, Mississippi, thirty miles south of Memphis, Crystal was made famous and portrayed somewhat mystically in her late father's paintings. Now a reclusive but hardworking young woman in 1990, it has become necessary to sell his masterpiece in order to remain in her family home, which others refer to as her ivory tower, and to support her mother, a former Miss Mississippi, who has always resented Crystal's importance to her father and to his paintings. The new owner of the painting accepts no excuse for Crystal's innocent mistake, and takes retribution, setting in motion events that open Crystal's world. She finds she must shelter a young mixed-race family, strive to understand her parents' inability to live together so long ago, and survive three men slung into her life who have every intention of not hurting her . . . . Most importantly, Crystal will learn from the one person who always has had her best interests at heart - the lady in the fairy tale house next door - of a secret she never knew exixted, and which will affect her from that moment on. Crystal will end up fighting for her life. And she will have more reason to do that than she could have suspected or hoped for. As in Tennyson's poem, "The Lady of Shalott," whose curse was unknown and who risked all to find a true knight, Crystal will emerge from her bower and be forced to reconcile with the outside world.
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