The novel debuted at number one on The New York Times fiction best-seller list. It is a family-saga set and centers on twin sisters Desiree and Stella Vignes.
The two light-skinned black sisters were raised in the fictional town of Mallard, Louisiana, and witness the murdering of their father in the 1940s. In 1954, at the age of 16, the twins ran away to New Orleans.
Stella disappears, leaving Desiree a note saying she needed to make her way in the world. Desiree looked for her but did not find her. When Stella left her old life behind, to be white. She moved to Boston with her boss and married him.
Desiree leaves her abusive husband with her dark-skinned daughter, Jude, to Washington in 1968. Jude grows older and tracks a scholarship at the University of California, Los Angeles. She sees a woman who resembles her mother, who is Stella.
The novel has a very dynamic structure. It is a remarkable novel.