Laelia is the story of the Cates sisters, vibrant and
prosperous African American matrons who decide to free
themselves from ailing husbands and lackluster marriages.
Led by the eldest sister, Rebecca, the three women embark
upon a plan to discreetly but systematically place their
men in care facilities.
Rebecca commandeers her two younger sisters, Claudia and
Gracelyn -- assigning each a role in distracting their
community from their real intent -- to live life
unencumbered by rarely sober Timothy, confused Jake, and
terminally ill Bernard. Rebecca's skillful strategizing
ensures that the women will emerge from their plan smelling
like roses, their good names intact, despite the Old
Testament rantings of their Baptist pastor and relentlessly
gossiping neighbors in their small-town world of Peoria,
Claudia, instructed by Rebecca to be more outgoing,
enchants her parochial neighbors with her refined bearing
and urbane chic. Gracelyn corrals the Sunday school
children and stages a play about Harriet Tubman, equipped
with Greek chorus. When Hillary Clinton appears at a tea
the sisters host at their mansion for the churchwomen, the
Cates women achieve a veritable coup, establishing
themselves as the indisputable leaders of their newly
empowered female neighbors.
These unforgettable women, united in their purpose,
transcend the unkind hand fate dealt them as younger women.
They find themselves anew and introduce the possibility of
midlife romance. Laelia tells a tale of sisterly devotion
and love, and the ties that bind as well as liberate.