The book begins with the life of Queen's grandfather, an Irishman in Ireland, and it eventually leads up to the accounts of her life. Queen is a mulatto; her mother, Easter, is a black slave who does the weaving on the plantation, and her father, Jass, is the white massa of the plantation. Queen would have had a kinder life if she were born a boy, or maybe even darker skinned. As it happens, she is born with light skin.
This is dangerous in the south, because she could pass for white, and even try to lead a white life. So, Queen faces a lot of prejudice from caucasians, and even from black people as well. The first major prejudice she faces comes from her father's wife, Lizzie. Naturally, Lizzie is jealous of Queen's mother, who is Jass' mistress. Also, Queen is Jass' firstborn. Lizzie wanted to have Jass' firstborn child. When Lizzie becomes pregnant, Queen is brought to the big house to become a nanny/maid/playmate to the child.
Lizzie hates having Queen in the house, and makes her life miserable. But, as long as slavery existed, Queen had a relatively safe life within the plantation. But when the Civil War ended slavery, Queen is forced to leave the plantation. Queen is advised by her white grandmother to live among the black community; however, Queen decides that she wants to "pass for white". This scheme works for a while, until a white gentleman courting Queen asks her to marry him. Queen knows in her heart that this can never be. And what makes matters worse, she tells him the truth about her. The consequences are devasting, and once again she is forced to leave her home. Queen is destitute, and is constantly searching for love and affection.
This report prepared by Marie Morris