The summer of 1964 in South Carolina comes at just about the boiling point for race relations in American history. The summer of the Civil Rights Act, a summer during which Martin Luther King was advocating thoroughly for equality, was also a summer when much of white America remained disdainful towards blacks. Kidd incorporates race relations into her novel in order to paint an accurate picture of life during this time in the American South. Segregation of blacks and white was the rule of law. This is part of the reason Lily's integration into the Boatwright home is so special.