Golden childhood memories, a coming of age tragedy, wonderfully compelling characters - all in this depression era West Virginia town; and then a stranger arrives on the scene.
I enjoyed this book. Interesting storyline, great characters, wonderfully descriptive. I am not giving five stars because it took me a bit to become engaged, and I think it could have been just as good if it was about 100-150 pages shorter. Well worth the read, though.
An atmospheric novel set in a small West Virginia town during The Depression. It had good characters, some southern wit & humor, a little bit of mystery, and an overall charm to it, but it dragged on way too long. Could have easily been just as good, if not better, if it had been condensed a little.
Humerus, with characters so real you imagine seeing them at the store.
Willa and Jottie are the two main characters, and narrators. Jottie is the matriarch of the family as much as a woman was allowed to be in the 1930's. She runs the house, manages the money, and manages two of the family farms along with her younger brother. Jottie is also raising her nieces; Willa and Bird, from her brother's marriage (which ended in divorce shortly after the second child was born). Jottie will do anything for the girls, and seeks to make the family as respectable and 'first class' as it was when she was a child.
Layla Beck, sent to write up the history of the town and boarding with the family, is the catalyst in this story. Her arrival in town causes Jottie to see face how a tragedy from her youth has effected the family's status, and is having an effect on how the girls are treated. Jottie older brother, Felix is not help in this, a bootlegger and the center of scandalous gossip, as well as a cad who sleeps around with every available woman, he still holds Jottie's loyalty.
Willa is entering the transition between child and young lady. She knows there are things the adults aren't telling her, and won't tell her. She decided to embrace her inner sneak and not only find out what they aren't telling her, but to understand why. With Layla already stirring up old history, and catching the attention of her father, Willa has much to observe and learn.
The characterization in this novel is amazing. Each character is unique, and the two narrators each have their own voice-I was never confused about who was narrating at any given time. I also loved how the characters didn't have much more information than the reader, so there wasn't the feeling of being in the same shoes as young Willa, even when adult Jottie was narrating, of feeling everyone else knows something you don't. The setting is also very well done. Each time the heat of the day is described, it is different, and while you feel how the characters are desperate for a cool breeze you don't grow bored with the descriptions of how hot it is. This would be a great beach read, or book between intense books, when you need something to warm your soul, hold your interest, and make you smile.
A well written and interesting family saga that can get predictable but you feel you know the characters so well that it doesn't bother you. There is great atmosphere, very much a small town feel to this book. Well done.
When Layla Beck appears in Macedonia, West Virginia, basically excommunicated from her posh world back home, Willa Romeyn knows she will be trouble. Anyone that goes poking into the town's history is bound to uncover some secrets and the Romeyns would like for them to stay just that - secret. This story is sweet and funny and reads wonderfully. If you like Southern historical fiction, this one is for you.
An absorbing read - got totally engrossed in the little town of Macedonia, its history and its many quirky characters.
Enjoyable read for a rainy weekend.
Family secrets come to light over a long, sweltering summer in small-town West Virginia. The story was a little long and the ending a little abrupt, especially given how much time was given to the exposition! But the author did a fairly decent job moving between multiple viewpoints.
While the book was overlong, and some of the plot lines and minor characters seemed unnecessary, I enjoyed the book. The major characters, especially Layla, Jottie, and Willa (loved that Willa), and Felix, were very fully drawn. These women grew and changed, and Felix had his reasons. Barrows is great on description, of people, place, summer heat. She digs deep into some of her characters and their motives. It's the ones that she doesn't that feel extraneous.
A piece of sass. -BEST QUOTE
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