By his eighteenth birthday, Ben Bennefield is known as the boy who lost his heart to the Yankee girl who spent her summers in Gold Dust. Anna Mancini, an artist from New York, is older and far more sophisticated than Ben. Though she takes him as her lover, by summer's end, she realizes the vast differences in their backgrounds and she leaves the small southern town abruptly. Ben had planned to graduate from high school and attend college. But his dreams fade when both parents die within years of each other, leaving young Ben heir to the family cotton farm. Through the years, Ben is bewitched by a cast of female characters, each harboring their own secrets, but he never forgets Anna. In his pursuit of her, Ben finds parts of his past, forcing him to search more closely for pieces that will help him move toward peace within himself and with those who scripted his life. With endearing characters, "A Full-Grown Man" addresses the compelling themes of relationships, family, and the messiness of living. While establishing a powerful sense of time and place, it asks, "When does a boy become a full-grown man?"