by Walt Larimore
Publisher: Howard Books
Release Date: March 13, 2012
Source: sent by publisher
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Summary from goodreads.com:
In the Hazel Creek Valley of the Great Smoky Mountains, Nathan and Callie Randolph, with their five unique daughters, wrestle to maintain their farm, forests, family, and faith against an unforgiving wilderness. An evil lumber company manager is seeking by every means possible to pilfer their land and clear-cut their virgin forest. A cast of colorful characters, including a menacing stranger, gypsy siblings, a granny midwife, and a world-famous writer—even a flesh-and-blood Haint—collide in a gripping struggle of good and evil amid eruptions of violence and tragedy. Our heroine, fifteen-year-old Abbie Randolph, has to help save her family’s farm and raise her sisters while preserving her faith. This important story, based on almost ten years of research and four years of living in the area, captures the speech, ways, and beliefs of these unique pioneers at a crucial and irreversible turning point in this Smoky Mountains community of the Southern Appalachians. With the march of the industrial age, especially commercial lumbering, the traditional life and ways of our southern highlanders in general, and the Randolphs in particular, were about to change forever.
The main reason that I wanted to read this book was the setting, the 1920s Smoky Mountains. I'd say that in this facet, the book didn't disappoint. I did enjoy the setting, but the story wasn't really a hit for me. There were some extremely sad aspects that just weren't for me, personally.
The heroine is very young, which reads a little differently than what I was expecting. She's young and she acts young. In a way, it's sweet, but in other ways it's a little slow. I really liked her relationship with her family, especially her father. However, on the flip side, that made the tragedy so very sad.
There was quite a cast of supporting players (the "Haint" was especially fun), and the pace was slow and steady. Both of these are things that I liked a lot about the book. It was just the sad overtones that made in into a less enjoyable read for me. If you love a tearjerker, you may like this one a lot!
Main Characters: 4/5
Supporting Characters: 4/5
Bottom Line: A tearjerker with a great setting and characters, just a bit too melancholy for me.