I don’t know about you, but I absolutely LOVE a novel that the opening pages have been so well written, are so captivating, that you are instantly transported to those late summer nights, sitting around a bonfire, wrapped in a soft blanket and silky words, told by your grandma that instantly transport you another time and place. THIS is one of those stories.
From Amy Jo Burns opening chapter “The Truth,” I knew I had just entered a tale that wasn’t going to allow me to simply close the cover and walk away.
Her description of life deep in the West Virginia mountains was so familiar to me, and head on acknowledged and challenged the stereotypical views of the mountain people before opening into a story so complex and believable, I was invested.
Wren, the daughter of a backwoods preacher (that has been deemed a “miracle,” and is the leader of what feels like a cult like existence in a faith that still takes up snake handling and strychnine drinking) has the feeling that maybe there is more out there for her than what she is allowed to know, events and past secrets tip a domino chain that could burn them all off the mountain. The mountain is all she’s ever known, but could there be more out there?
The friendship (sister-ship) portrayed between Wrens mother Ruby and best friend from childhood Ivy, is both empowering and heart breaking. The want to be something more, but stuck where they are resonated through the novel. All the choices, good and bad, leading to so many lives changed.
Burns did such a good job writing this novel from Wrens perspective, the going back to her father Briar’s, (White Eye to the mountain people), and his best friends perspective, then circling back to Ruby and Ivy’s perspective, and finishing with how legends are born (or changed), will keep you speed reading through this novel at break neck speed.
The writing in this novel is so strong- and her messages of female struggle with equality, strong female characters, as well as the feeling of being stuck, (yet fearing the thought of change), as well as the horrible cost of the choices we make, and the secrets we keep, made this a definite 4 to 4.5 out of 5 star read for me. The story and images remain haunting even after closing the book and bidding farewell to the characters I met within (now old that remain waiting while I forge on to new adventures… once again leaving them stuck in the pages that now contain them.)
I’ve been lucky to be on such a great novel reading spree. This is one I definitely recommend you check out both for the story, and the incredibly powerful writing and storytelling contained within.
I would love to hear your feedback or your opinion if you’ve read this one. How did it impact you? Were you as blown away by the awesome story telling ability by Burns as I was?
I hope you give this a go. Thank you so much for reading my review, I hope you’re having a great day wherever you are! Stay safe and happy reading my friends!