Lily is liveing with her father, T. Ray, and her Nanny, Rosaleen, in a house just outside of Sylvan, SC. In a flashback it is hinted that Lily killed her mother.
Lily decides that it is time to run away. She decides to go to Tiburon, becasue on an old picture her mother gave her, there is a black Mary statue (the Virgin Mary) with Tiburon SC written on the back of it. Lily gets Rosaleen out of the hospital (she was beaten up by three rascists after she went to go and vote) and they start to hitchhike down HWY 40.
Lily And Rosaleen arrive at the Boatwright house (the house where the black Mary statue is). August, June, and May Boatwright all live in the house. August is a beekeeper and runs the bee farm at the Boatwright house.
We meet the "Daughters of Mary" August's Spiritual Group, and she tells the story of how they got the black Statue of Mary. The statue was found in a river and was given to a community of black slaves. The slaves worshipped the statue, until their owner took it away from them. The owner, intending to keep it away, chained up the statue, but it always, miraculously and continuosly escaped. The statue was passed down through generations until it ended up in the hands of the Boatwrights.
Zach (works on the bee farm with August) invites Lily to go with him on an errand, to drop off some honey at Clayton Forrest's office. While she was there Lily decided to call her T. Ray, which was a bad idea. He gets mad, yells at her for running away, and then demands to know where she is. She refuses, apologizes, and then asks him what her favorite color is. He doesnt answer and threatens to hurt her when he finds her. She then hung up. Lily writes her dad an unsendable letter, and rips it.
August wakes Lily up so she can help on the bee farm. Lily gets stung by a bee while taking the lid off one of the hives. After this August calls Lily a "true Beekeeper" which brightens her day. After she tries to take a nap (she is haunted by thoughts of her mother). Later she asks May if her mother lived here once, and she says yes. Lily is overwhelemed and has weird dreams about her, Also Zach gets arrested.
May commits suicide by drowning herself. Zach gets released from jail in time to pay respects to her, and Lily feels closer to the community than ever before, sensing that there is no difference between them even though she is white. June's boyfriend proposes to her again (after many other attempts) and she finally says yes. The rest of that night is preparation for the service, and they finish at 6 p.m. Later Zach kisses Lily and they promise to find a way to be together.
Lily finally goes to tell August the truth about why she came to their house. August tells her that she knew the whole time and she also knew Lily's mother, and also helped raise her. August tells Lily that her mother left both her and her father after she was born to go see August. Lily is very disturbed at this point and all she can say is "Left you, left you...." over and over again.
Ch. 14 End
After her conversation with August, Lily sepnds some time alone to mourn/think about her mother, and eventually she forgives her for actions. Lily and August talk some more, and later Lily answers the door, her father,T. Ray, is standing there. He scolds her and starts yelling at her calling her by her mothers name, she gets scared and calls him "daddy" ,something she has never done before. He stops pushing her and August convinces him to let Lily stay with them. She goes to school with zach.
Conflicts PRT 1
Major conflict: Motherless Lily is living an unhappy life with her emotionally detached father, who claims that she killed her mother. When her only friend, Rosaleen who is also the black maid at their house, gets arrested for confronting racists, Lily decides to break her out of jail, so they can run away to a place Lily believes her mother once spent time at
Conflicts PRT 2
Rising Action: Once the Boatwright sisters take her in, Lily realizes that she must come to reality with who her mother was, and she also has difficulty understanding the importance of the "mothers" who are taking care of her.
Conflicts PRT 3
Climax: The book has a string of climaxes that happen in rapid succession, Zach, Lily's love interest, gets arrested for throwing a glass bottle at a white man. Right after that May Boatwright commits suicide by drowning herself in the river, and the other Boatwright sisters mourn their loss. Then Lily confesses to August the real reason why she came here, and also explains how her mother died, and that she broke Rosaleen out of jail.
Conflicts PRT 4 and END
Falling Action: Lily gets to confront her father, and August convinces him to let her stay with the Boatwrights and they all lived Happily Ever After.