Under a Dark Summer Sky is set in Florida in 1935 in a small town struggling with the effects of the Depression and at the time of the great hurricane. The racially charged narrative swirls around Missy, with her courageous dedication to duty, who works for the Kincaid family; Henry, a long absent WWI soldier who still loves Missy, the girl he left behind; Henry's sister and Missy's friend, Selma, with her no-nonsense approach to crises; and Sheriff Dwayne Campbell, whose duty is to protect Henry but who has personal reasons for wanting Henry to suffer.
Florida, 1935, and the residents of Heron Key are preparing for the Fourth of July barbecue, little realising how much their world is about to change. Domestic helps Missy and Selma are dismembering the alligator that tried to snatch the baby Missy was watching, before they can get ready for the party. Henry, a returned soldier from WW1, is hoping that his comrades in his construction team will not disgrace themselves in front of an already fiercely judgemental community.
The year is 1993. The Ku Klux Klan hold a rally provoking violence from an unexpected quarter which leaves authorities with an extraordinary dilemma: how do you handle a 98-year-old perpetrator who will not speak out except to admit her guilt? The year is 1919. Exiled in disgrace from her family, mixed-race Alicia is shocked by the primitive conditions when she arrives in Key West. Unlike anywhere else in Florida, people just get along - whites, blacks, Cubans, Catholics and Jews.