Belle Cantrell felt guilty about killing her husband and she hated that. Feeling guilty, that is. A lady shouldn't do something she's going to feel guilty about later, was a rule Belle kept firmly in mind.
So begins The Bad Behavior of Belle Cantrell, a story of murder, adultery, and regular church attendance, which introduces Belle Cantrell as a beautiful young widow with a rebellious streak, years before she will become grandmother to Sissy LeBlanc, the feisty main character of Loraine Despres's bestselling The Scandalous Summer of Sissy LeBlanc.
The year is 1920, prohibition is in full swing, women are clamoring for the vote, and a narrow-minded intolerance is on the rise. Life isn't easy for an unmarried woman, not in a little town like Gentry, Louisiana, especially after she's sent to jail for swimming in an indecent bathing costume with a group of suffragists.
It's not as if Belle doesn't know how to behave. She knows the rules. She keeps the Primer of Propriety firmly in mind. But sometimes -- most of the time -- she has to twist the rules a little, or break them, or give them a permanent kink, because they all say the same thing: "Don't."
And a girl has got to live.
After a year and a half of mourning, Belle decides to get on with her life and kicks off a season of tumult that will change her and Gentry forever.
Sexy, sassy, with laugh-out-loud humor and a cast of zany characters you won't forget, The Bad Behavior of Belle Cantrell is a big comic love story and a page-turner. But it delves deeper, as Belle struggles to find her moral center and stand up to forces that are determined to destroy the soul of a town and the people she loves.
- HarperCollins, October 2009
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