Michelle Collins Anderson

portrait of michelle

The Flower Sisters

Michelle Collins Anderson has taken a tragic footnote of small-town history and turned it into an absolutely absorbing novel, brimming with atmosphere, heart, and winning characters. A wonderful debut!
— Dominic Smith, New York Times bestselling author of Return to Valetto
Michelle Collins Anderson delivers what every booklover craves in her absorbing and exhilarating debut. Combined with an intriguing historical event and charismatic characters with deeply held secrets, the end result is a mesmerizing story about reconciling guilt and letting go of the past so new beginnings are possible. Anderson’s talent is undeniable and held me spellbound until the very last page.
— Donna Everhart, author of The Saints of Swallow Hill

About the Novel

Daisy Flowers is fifteen in 1978 when her free-spirited mother dumps her in Possum Flats, Missouri. It’s a town that sounds like roadkill and, in Daisy’s eyes, is every bit as dead. Sentenced to spend the summer living with her grandmother, the wry and irreverent town mortician, Daisy draws the line at working for the family business, Flowers Funeral Home. Instead, she maneuvers her way into an internship at the local newspaper where, sorting through the basement archives, she learns of a mysterious tragedy from fifty years earlier...

On a sweltering, terrible night in 1928, an explosion at the local dance hall left dozens of young people dead, shocking and scarring a town that still doesn’t know how or why it happened. Listed among the victims is a name that’s surprisingly familiar to Daisy, revealing an irresistible family connection to this long-ago accident. Obsessed with investigating the horrors and heroes of that night, Daisy soon discovers Possum Flats holds a multitude of secrets for a small town. And hardly anyone who remembers the tragedy is happy to have some teenaged hippie asking questions about it – not the fire-and-brimstone preacher who found his calling that tragic night; not the fed-up police chief; not the mayor’s widow or his mistress; not even Daisy’s own grandmother, a woman who’s never been afraid to raise eyebrows in the past, whether it’s for something she’s worn, sworn, or done for a living. Some secrets are guarded by the living, while others are kept by the dead, but as buried truths gradually come into the light, they’ll force a reckoning at last.

Based on the 1928 Bond Dance Hall Explosion in Michelle's hometown of West Plains, Missouri, that killed 39 people, THE FLOWER SISTERS is about how a community deals with — and heals from — secrets, trauma and loss. And how forgiveness can forge new friendships and a sense of belonging. While the mystery surrounding that real-life event remains, Michelle has imagined one possible path — and populated it with people who epitomize the town’s humor, pain and oftentimes maddening humanity.