Day's of Pretense
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After 15 years in hiding, a woman and her teenage son travel cross country to keep a promise to her x-husband who will be executed for murder in less than 3 days. Soon after their arrival to the family's home town, the son uncovers a family secret of lies and blackmail that sets into motion a race against time to prove the father's innocence. More
Jean Debau is the perfect daughter. Her father, John Debau, is a successful lawyer and state senator. Victoria Debau is a loving but controlling mother, who insists that the family maintain a standard of behavior that is consistent with their social standing.
Jean Debau becomes pregnant by James Harrell, a high school dropout whose future looks no better than his troubled past. Jean elopes with Harrell and follows her new husband to Chicago.
A year later, John Debau dies. Jean’s disgraceful behavior, is seen by Victoria Debau as the root cause for his untimely death. The bitterness between mother and daughter is so great that it will be 16 years before the two see or speak to each other again.
Life in Chicago is hard. Jean, James, and Jamie Jr. are never more than a day ahead of the bill collectors.
When James Harrell makes one last desperate attempt to pull his family out of the grasps of poverty by traveling back to Tombigbee to find work, he is arrested, convicted, and sentenced to death for the murder of a convenience store clerk.
Harrell is a dead man and he knows it. He divorces Jean and cuts all ties with his family. James Harrell’s only request is that Jean personally arrange and supervise his funeral. No one predicts, however, that it will take 14 years of waiting before the poison enters the veins of the convicted killer.
When Jean receives word that her child’s father will die in a matter of days, she returns to Mississippi with Jamie, who is now 18.
Jean desperately hopes to reconnect with the mother she has not seen in years. She wants to introduce her wonderful son to a grandmother who for now regards the boy as nothing more than the despised seed of the father. Jean wants the guilt she has carried for so long to go away.
Later, Jamie befriends the county sheriff, Hal Hawkins. Together they discover that James Harrel confessed to a murder he did not commit in an effort to protect Jean’s family from the true cause of her father’s death. As the clock ticks down to execution time, Jamie must decide if the truth that might save his father is worth the harm it will cause his mother.
This is a story of a family’s struggle to save an innocent man, and to find, under the heavy shadow of pretense, the will to forgive and be forgiven.