One night in 1917 Beatrice Haven creeps out of her uncle's house on Cape Ann, Massachusetts, and leaves her newborn baby at the foot of a pear to tree, and watches as another woman claims the child as her own. The unwed daughter of wealthy Jewish industrialists and a gifted pianist bound for Radcliffe, Bea plans to leave her shameful secret behind and make a fresh start.
Ten years later, Prohibition is in full swing, post-WWI America is in the grips of rampant xenophobia, and Bea's hopes for her future remain unfulfilled. She returns to her uncle's house, seeking a refuge from her unhappiness. But she discovers far more when the rum-running manager of the local quarry inadvertently reunites her with Emma Murphy, the headstrong Irish Catholic woman who has been raising her abandoned child-now a bright, bold, cross-dressing girl named Lucy Pear, with secrets of her own.
Set against one of America's most turbulent decades, Leaving Lucy Pear delves into questions of class, freedom, and the meaning of family, telling a captivating story.