Flowers for Elvis by Julia Schuster

I came into this world and left it on the same day. I guess God knew what He was doing. Being the illegitimate daughter of a nun would have been restrictive, to say the least. Then, when you factor in that my mother was white and my father black, that they lived in the podunk town of Iuka, Mississippi, and the year was 1956—I guess I should really feel blessed to be dead.

In 1956, Olivia and her twin sister are born to a nun an old auto parts store turned convent in rural Mississippi. Little Olivia doesn’t survive the day, but her spunky spirit hangs around and takes on the role of ethereal watchdog over her twin. When the Reverend Mother—and holy guilt—convince the nun’s sister (a young pregnant newlywed) to secretly raise the baby as the twin of her own soon-to-be-born child, Olivia realizes the urgency of her presence and support. Not only is her aunt a fanatical Elvis fan, she’s a renegade Southern belle, bent on self-indulgence and desperate to safeguard her multitude of sins.

Without revealing which girl is her twin until the end, Olivia takes the reader on a flower strewn tour of misguided love and maternal betrayal which culminates at Elvis’ funeral, where they finally discover the truth of their parentage and unravel the generations of secrets that shadowed their lives.

Flowers For Elvis is quirky Southern fiction with a literary edge, surprising humor and an uplifting spirit.