The Unquiet Grave
From New York Times bestselling author Sharyn McCrumb comes a finely wrought novel set in nineteenth-century West Virginia, based on the true story of one of the strangest murder trials in American history—the case of the Greenbrier Ghost.Lakin, West Virginia, 1930 Following a suicide attempt and consigned to a segregated insane asylum, attorney James P. D. Gardner finds himself under the care of Dr. James Boozer. Fresh out of medical school, Dr. Boozer is eager to try the new talking cure for insanity, and encourages his elderly patient to reminisce about his experiences as the first black attorney to practice law in nineteenth-century West Virginia. Gardner's most memorable case was the one in which he helped to defend a white man on trial for the murder of his young bride—a case that the prosecution based on the testimony of a ghost.Greenbrier, West Virginia, 1897 Beautiful, willful Zona Heaster has always lived in the mountains of West Virginia. Despite her mother’s misgivings, Zona marries Erasmus Trout Shue, the handsome blacksmith who has recently come to Greenbrier County. After weeks of silence from the newlyweds, riders come to the Heasters’ place to tell them that Zona has died from a fall, attributed to a recent illness. Mary Jane is determined to get justice for her daughter. A month after the funeral, she informs the county prosecutor that Zona’s ghost appeared to her, saying that she had been murdered. An autopsy, ordered by the reluctant prosecutor, confirms her claim. The Greenbrier Ghost is renowned in American folklore, but Sharyn McCrumb is the first author to look beneath the legend to unearth the facts. Using a century of genealogical material and other historical documents, McCrumb reveals new information about the story and brings to life the personalities in the trial: the prosecutor, a former Confederate cavalryman; the defense attorney, a pro-Union bridgeburner, who nevertheless had owned slaves; and the mother of the murdered woman, who doggedly sticks to her ghost story—all seen through the eyes of a young black lawyer on the cusp of a new century, with his own tragedies yet to come. With its unique blend of masterful research and mesmerizing folklore, illuminating the story’s fascinating and complex characters, The Unquiet Grave confirms Sharyn McCrumb’s place among the finest Southern writers at work today.

The Unquiet Grave Details

TitleThe Unquiet Grave
Author
ReleaseSep 12th, 2017
PublisherAtria Books
ISBN-139781476772875
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Mystery, Horror

The Unquiet Grave Review

  • Linda
    January 1, 1970
    Times change, but men mostly don't.James P.D. Gardner sits quietly in his darkened room in this former hotel now serving as an asylum for the insane. Although a renowned African American attorney of long standing in Lakin, West Virginia, Gardner had attempted suicide. Like the legal volumes stacked on his office shelf, life's complications carried oppressive weight and took up too much space.Dr. James Boozer, young and inexperienced, leans in closer and encourages Gardner to participate in the " Times change, but men mostly don't.James P.D. Gardner sits quietly in his darkened room in this former hotel now serving as an asylum for the insane. Although a renowned African American attorney of long standing in Lakin, West Virginia, Gardner had attempted suicide. Like the legal volumes stacked on his office shelf, life's complications carried oppressive weight and took up too much space.Dr. James Boozer, young and inexperienced, leans in closer and encourages Gardner to participate in the "new talking cure" being turned out now in 1930. Dr. Boozer returns for brief moments day after day until Gardner begins to reveal details of a most unusual murder case in 1897 in which a man was arrested on suspicion of killing his newly wed bride.Sharyn McCrumb presents a well-researched story based on a true crime that parallels along the lines of this Greenbrier Ghost. Locals stand fixated on the idea that some things just cannot be explained in worldly terms. McCrumb guides the reader down a fork in the road with tellings by James Gardner and with a very earthy rendition by the victim's own mother, Mary Jane Heaster. McCrumb sprinkles this with very colloquial dialogue aimed at bringing the reader into the full mix of this strange story.Zona Heaster, young with sparks afire, meets Eliasmus Trout Shue as if by the heavy twisted hand of a cruel fate. Trout, as he is called, is a newly arrived blacksmith in this small country town in West Virginia. His handsome face is his calling card and Zona clutches it to her heart. The voice of these chapters is Mary Jane's who tells of her daughter's questionable involvement with the shifty Trout. You feel the mother's anguish as Zona and Trout announce their upcoming nuptials.Mary Jane feels the severe disconnect as her daughter, Zona, seems to cut ties with the family immediately after the wedding. She fears for her daughter's well-being. It is only after Zona's death that Mary Jane receives "messages" from Zona herself which have been well-documented during this true trial. Although being a time ripe with Spiritualism, this mother points out directives from beyond the grave.I was drawn in by the time period, the well-developed characters, and the leaning full-handed on the facts of this case. I must say that McCrumb does web out her storyline with so many layers of memories and recollections by James Gardner that tend to bloat out the story at times. The crucial elements of Zona's story should have laid enough texture to this pie without unnecessary crumbs in the mix. But it is exactly the reality of Zona's short life and exhumation that draws you in like a beckoning hand. Oh, now that in itself is a tad bit unsettling, fellow readers. Yowsers!I received a copy of The Unquiet Grave through NetGalley for an honest review. My appreciation to Atria Books and to Sharyn McCrumb for the opportunity.
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  • Lori Lamothe
    January 1, 1970
    Zona Heaster is a beautiful redhead who wants more out of life than the mountains of West Virginia can offer her in 1897. After secretly bearing a child out of wedlock, she takes up with a 35-year-old blacksmith whose good looks and easy charm are impossible to resist. Their whirlwind courtship doesn’t last long, however, and within months of their wedding Zona is found dead. Everyone but Zona’s mother accepts her death as a tragic accident and the funeral would likely have marked the end of her Zona Heaster is a beautiful redhead who wants more out of life than the mountains of West Virginia can offer her in 1897. After secretly bearing a child out of wedlock, she takes up with a 35-year-old blacksmith whose good looks and easy charm are impossible to resist. Their whirlwind courtship doesn’t last long, however, and within months of their wedding Zona is found dead. Everyone but Zona’s mother accepts her death as a tragic accident and the funeral would likely have marked the end of her story—if her ghost hadn’t insisted on bringing her husband to trial. James P.D. Gardner is the first black attorney to practice law in West Virginia. He also happens to be involuntarily committed to a segregated insane asylum after a failed suicide attempt. More than three decades after Gardner helped defend Zona’s husband, a young doctor convinces him to try the new “talking cure.” Over the course of his stay at the asylum, Gardner recounts the events surrounding the blacksmith’s trial and grapples with his own problems. Told in alternating POV’s between Gardner and Zona’s mother Mary Jane, "The Unquiet Grave" is a well-researched novel that resurrects a fascinating historical tale. In a sense, this book is more true crime than fiction because the events Sharyn McCrumb writes about are not invented and many of the smallest details are based on official documents. Beginning with an entry in a folklore book that was less than two pages long, McCrumb set out to uncover the facts behind the Greenbrier Ghost legend and she succeeded. Her novel not only gives a clear picture of the trial but also creates a layered depiction of West Virginia at the end of the nineteenth century. As is true of all the ballad novels, "The Unquiet Grave" is far more than a mystery to be unraveled. McCrumb’s knowledge of Appalachia, as well as her feeling for the region’s land and its people, allows her to transcend genre and create works of lasting merit. She is a truly gifted writer.I would warn readers not to enter into this book expecting the page-turning suspense of the earlier ballad novels. This novel isn’t set in Dark Hollow, Tennesee and familiar characters like Sheriff Spencer Arrowood and Nora Bonesteel don’t make an appearance. There is no mystery to solve, per se, and the pacing is slow at times, especially in Gardner’s chapters. McCrumb’s quirky brand of humor (which I love) is also absent. That said, "The Unquiet Grave" recounts a forgotten slice of history that deserves to be told. And if you haven’t read her other ballad novels, I highly recommend them.Much thanks to Atria Books and NetGalley for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Marjorie
    January 1, 1970
    Sharyn McCrumb is a long-time favorite author of mine. Her ballad books are food for my literary soul, with her hauntingly beautiful tales of the Appalachian Mountains folklore. This time she’s veered away from those ballads with a historical novel based upon a true incident. There actually was a murder trial where the accused, Erasmus Trout Shue, was brought to trial for the murder of his wife, Zona Heaster Shue, based on the testimony of his deceased wife. Zona’s mother attests to the fact tha Sharyn McCrumb is a long-time favorite author of mine. Her ballad books are food for my literary soul, with her hauntingly beautiful tales of the Appalachian Mountains folklore. This time she’s veered away from those ballads with a historical novel based upon a true incident. There actually was a murder trial where the accused, Erasmus Trout Shue, was brought to trial for the murder of his wife, Zona Heaster Shue, based on the testimony of his deceased wife. Zona’s mother attests to the fact that her deceased daughter appeared to her and told her how she was murdered, an autopsy was ordered and Trout Shue was brought to trial. The murder took place in 1897.The author has done a marvelous job of pulling out the facts from all of the folklore surrounding this murder. She researched census records, birth and death certificates, property records, maps and photographs and a long paper trail. She brings these people back to life and I was completely captivated by their story. The author lets her story be told alternately by Zona’s mother, Mary Jane Heaster, and by Shue’s attorney, James P.D. Gardner. Interestingly, Gardner tells his part of the story to a psychiatrist while he’s confined to a mental hospital in 1930. Gardner was the first black attorney to practice law in the State of Virginia and this is his most memorable case.I would have given this fascinating account of such a very unusual trial 5 stars except for the quite lengthy examination of the checkered career of the lead prosecutor, W.P. Rucker. While I can certainly understand why the author wanted to include this since it’s of historic interest, that part dragged a bit for me. My main interest in the book was the mother’s quest for justice for her beloved daughter’s murder. I felt such empathy for her as she struggled with her fears for her daughter as she entered this obviously unstable marriage and her grief when her daughter’s life was so brutally ended.Recommended.This book was given to me by the publisher in return for an honest review.
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    The Unquiet Grave is about the Greenbrier Ghost legend in West Virginia. The story tells about a ghost of a young woman, Zona Heaster Shue, who visits her mother and tells her how she had died. Mary Jane is determined to prove that Zona was murdered. She goes to town to tell the prosecutor that Zona ghost appear to her and knows she was murdered. Zona's body is then exhumed and everyone was shocked to find that Mary Jane was right!The Unquiet Grave is one of the best books I have read in a long The Unquiet Grave is about the Greenbrier Ghost legend in West Virginia. The story tells about a ghost of a young woman, Zona Heaster Shue, who visits her mother and tells her how she had died. Mary Jane is determined to prove that Zona was murdered. She goes to town to tell the prosecutor that Zona ghost appear to her and knows she was murdered. Zona's body is then exhumed and everyone was shocked to find that Mary Jane was right!The Unquiet Grave is one of the best books I have read in a long time. I have never heard of the Greenbrier Ghost before but I want to know more about it. I enjoyed how Sharyn McCrumb's vivid storytelling brings this legend to life. My heart aches for Mary Jane when her precious Zona died and was fascinated how she found the strength to go to the authorities to tell them about how Zona appeared to her. Which brought on a fascinating trial. How many trials in history that were brought on by ghost? I was completely caught off guard at the ending of the book and was especially interested by the Authors Notes. Great read!100 stars. Even though I received this book from the publisher, I was not required to write a review. This review is 100% my own opinion.
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  • MaryannC.Book Fiend
    January 1, 1970
    A fascinating fictional account based on the Greenbrier Ghost. Set in 1897 West Virginia, the story of young headstrong and promiscuous Zona Heaster who quickly falls for and marries handsome, sweet talking Trout Shue, a young man working for the local smithy. After a brief honeymoon Zona's mother Mary Jane realizes all is not well in the marriage and shockingly discovers that Zona has died suddenly under musterious circumstances. More shocking is that one night Zona appears to her mother to tel A fascinating fictional account based on the Greenbrier Ghost. Set in 1897 West Virginia, the story of young headstrong and promiscuous Zona Heaster who quickly falls for and marries handsome, sweet talking Trout Shue, a young man working for the local smithy. After a brief honeymoon Zona's mother Mary Jane realizes all is not well in the marriage and shockingly discovers that Zona has died suddenly under musterious circumstances. More shocking is that one night Zona appears to her mother to tell her that her new husband murdered her. In another parallel storyline to Zona's tale is James Gardner, the first African American lawyer in West Virginia who represented the murderer Tom Shue. This was a fascinating bit of history and folklore that I never heard of which propels me to further learn about this case and to also explore more of McCrumb's books with this being my first read by her. Worth picking up.
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  • Jeanie
    January 1, 1970
    Love is a form of madness in one woman's search for justice. An account of actual events in Greenbrier County in 1897 told in a poetic prose of a mother Mary Jane and the killer's defense attorney James P Gardner years later. The narration goes back and forth in time with the mother's relationship with her daughter Zona. A beautiful girl full of spunk and determination. Zona falls fast and hard for Trout Shue a blacksmith who has been married before. Mary Jane is not ignorant of her daughter's m Love is a form of madness in one woman's search for justice. An account of actual events in Greenbrier County in 1897 told in a poetic prose of a mother Mary Jane and the killer's defense attorney James P Gardner years later. The narration goes back and forth in time with the mother's relationship with her daughter Zona. A beautiful girl full of spunk and determination. Zona falls fast and hard for Trout Shue a blacksmith who has been married before. Mary Jane is not ignorant of her daughter's misgivings however, she feels that something is amiss months later after the wedding. When her daughter is discovered dead, she knows that Zona's husband is to blame. With great courage, Mary Jane goes to the prosecutor with a tale of the Ghost of her daughter that she was murdered and did not suffer an accident but a violent death in the hands of her husband. Gardner is assigned to Trout's case and years later relives the tale in the Asylum under the care of Dr. James Boozer. The narrations give different perspectives of the culture on race and justice. It is a haunting tale of a mother's grief and Gardner's part of the defense of Shue. Retelling his part, you question whether he has regrets in the process of justice. A different historical fiction with intrigue and the stories of the past forgotten but given new life. I was totally engaged.A Special Thank You to Atria Books and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.
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  • CoffeeandInk
    January 1, 1970
    The Unquiet Grave is a retelling of a folk story about a ghost who appeared as a witness at the trial of the man who murdered her, through her mother. The narrative is broken up, as far as the timeline and point of view, between the mother’s present in 1897 and the lawyer’s assistant in a 1930s asylum. It’s based on real life and though at times I felt impatient with the various characters involved with the trial, it’s the mother, Mary Jane, and the details of her life in West Virginia and her p The Unquiet Grave is a retelling of a folk story about a ghost who appeared as a witness at the trial of the man who murdered her, through her mother. The narrative is broken up, as far as the timeline and point of view, between the mother’s present in 1897 and the lawyer’s assistant in a 1930s asylum. It’s based on real life and though at times I felt impatient with the various characters involved with the trial, it’s the mother, Mary Jane, and the details of her life in West Virginia and her pursuit for justice that had me engrossed. The big story question, did she make up the part about seeing her daughter’s ghost? is not quite resolved, though her gut instincts about the murderer help to get the killer prosecuted. A truly fascinating study of domestic violence.I’d forgotten what a powerful and compelling storyteller the author is, and I’m ready to go back to her backlist to see what I’ve missed.
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    The Unquiet Grave is an interesting story with no real lasting power. I suspect it means more to those who are familiar with the folklore prior to reading the novel. Even without any prior knowledge, very little of the story is an actual surprise. Ms. McCrumb is very heavy-handed in her foreshadowing, and the modern-day obsession with true crime stories makes it all too easy to see where Zona’s story is heading.From a historical perspective, Ms. McCrumb gives readers a decent insight into the l The Unquiet Grave is an interesting story with no real lasting power. I suspect it means more to those who are familiar with the folklore prior to reading the novel. Even without any prior knowledge, very little of the story is an actual surprise. Ms. McCrumb is very heavy-handed in her foreshadowing, and the modern-day obsession with true crime stories makes it all too easy to see where Zona’s story is heading.From a historical perspective, Ms. McCrumb gives readers a decent insight into the lasting tension that existed even forty years after the Civil War. She raises awareness that this was more than racial tension, although that did obviously exist. Things like someone’s war record, in which campaigns they fought, for which side, all played a role in establishing someone’s position in society. Set in the foothills of West Virginia, it is a side of the turn-of-the-century America most readers do not get to see.She also paints a realistic picture of the hardships farmers in Appalachia faced. These are not the coal farmers one typically thinks of when envisioning West Virginia. These are the types of farmers who founded our country – small, family-owned, barely able to survive in the lean times, for whom frivolous things like a separate dress for a wedding is as unthinkable as it is unpractical. Understanding Zona’s background makes it easier to understand why she married a man she barely knew as well as the reasons her mother did not discover her fate until it was too late.Had the story stayed focused solely on Mary Jane, the flow would be smoother and more engaging. Unfortunately, the story splits its time between Mary Jane’s search for justice and that of one of the lawyers assigned to the case. Except Gardner’s story takes place forty years after the fact, so the context is wrong. Plus, we find out that he was not the head lawyer for the case. He was nothing but the associate lawyer assigned to do most of the research. His role in the novel is misleading and disappointing and more than a little confusing. Some of this is because of his lack of role in the proceedings. The rest is due to the shift not only in narrator but also in point of view. With Mary Jane, we get a first person perspective, allowed access inside her mind as she processes her life and her actions. With Gardner, it is a third-person limited point of view. We only learn his story as he tells it to his doctor. It is too distant in time and perspective to blend well with Mary Jane’s sections of the novel, and they did nothing to improve my understanding or enjoyment of the story. I often found myself skimming if not skipping entire passages of Dr. Gardner’s scenes in order to get past them as quickly as possible.Much like the mode of travel Mary Jane must use to travel to see her daughter, The Unquiet Grave is a relatively slow, plodding novel. The details about Mary Jane’s life and her search for clues is interesting and one of the saving graces of the story. The rest is a meandering slog through racial, socio-economic, and generational tensions that attempt to establish the setting but do more to distract and disengage. The scenes involving Gardner are disappointing and relatively meaningless in the overall context of the story. Those potential readers who already know the story of The Greenbriar Ghost may have a greater appreciation for The Unquiet Grave and Ms. McCrumb’s research into the details behind the legend. As it is, I found it a tedious read with only occasional sections of historical interest.
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  • Donna Davis
    January 1, 1970
    Voice, voice, voice; nobody writes like Sharyn McCrumb. Here her dry, dark humor combines with her expertise in Appalachian culture and above all, her deep respect for the working poor, and the result is a masterpiece of an historical mystery. Thanks to Net galley for the DRC, and to Atria for sending a hard copy galley and a finished copy of this excellent novel. However, had I paid full freight, I’d have come away happy. This book will be available to the public September 12, 2017.Based upon t Voice, voice, voice; nobody writes like Sharyn McCrumb. Here her dry, dark humor combines with her expertise in Appalachian culture and above all, her deep respect for the working poor, and the result is a masterpiece of an historical mystery. Thanks to Net galley for the DRC, and to Atria for sending a hard copy galley and a finished copy of this excellent novel. However, had I paid full freight, I’d have come away happy. This book will be available to the public September 12, 2017.Based upon the legend of the Greenbrier Ghost, our story is set in West Virginia in 1897. Zola Heaster is swept away by the handsome young blacksmith that comes to her tiny Appalachian farming community. Her story is told to us primarily in a first person narrative by her mother, Mary Jane. Magnetic physical attraction overwhelms any common sense Zona may possess—which isn’t much—so when the handsome stranger comes along, Zona tumbles:“Zona was well nigh smirking at him—cat-in-the-cream-jug smug, she was. Well, Mr. Shue—the name fits the trade, I see—I am Miss Zona Heaster, a visitor to my cousin’s house, here. How do…Well before Edward ‘Call me Trout’ Shue came ambling along, with his possum grin and his storybook profile, we’d had trouble with Zona.”Before we can draw breath, Zona is pregnant. It isn’t the first time, either, though the first was kept quiet, settled out of the area. As her mother wonders whether Trout will want to marry her, Zona brags,“’He’d be lucky to have me.’ “’Well, Zona, it seems that he already has.’”Mary Jane doesn’t like her daughter’s suitor, and a number of small but troubling things make her reluctant to see this wedding take place, even given the shotgun-wedding circumstances. We are disquieted, not by huge monstrous overt acts by Shue, but by the small hints that provide a deeper suspicion, a sense of foreboding. Part of McCrumb’s genius is in knowing when less is more.Ultimately, Zona marries and moves away, and is little heard from. Too little. And here is the mother’s dilemma that most of us will recognize: how much should a mother pry? Will it make things better to follow our nose to the source of trouble; can we help? Or will our efforts only antagonize one or both of the newlyweds? And I love Zona’s father, the laconic Jacob who tells his wife that Zona has made the choice to marry, and she’s made the choice to stay there, so “Let her go, Mary Jane.” But it’s a terrible mistake. A secondary thread alternates with this one. The year is 1930; attorney James P.D. Gardner is consigned to a segregated insane asylum following a suicide attempt. His doctor is the young James Boozer, who has decided to try the new technique that involves talking to one’s patients. This device works wonderfully here because it provides Gardner the opportunity to discuss a particularly interesting case he tried many years prior, one that involved defending a white man accused of murdering his wife. The conversation flows organically, rather than as a monologue shoehorned into the prose. I am surprised at first to see McCrumb write dialogue for African-American men; I don’t think she has done this before, although I can’t swear to this.( I have been reading her work since the 90s and may have forgotten a few things along the way.) The dialogue between Gardner and Boozer is dignified and natural, and this is a relief; those that have read my reviews know that there have been others that failed in this regard. And just as the discussion starts to drone—intentional, since one of the two men yawns just at the moment I do—everything wakes up, and we learn about the trial of Trout Shue from a different vantage point. Every aspect of this novel is done with the authority and mastery of Appalachian fiction for which McCrumb is legendary. The dialect is so resonant that I find myself using it in writing, speech, and even thought—just tiny snippets here and there—and then laughing at myself. And I cannot help wondering how much of it stewed its way into McCrumb’s own conversations while she was writing. You may find it in yours.The result here is spellbinding, and the use of Appalachian legend, herbal medicine, and folklore makes it all the more mesmerizing. Again, skill and experience tell here. How many novels have I read in which an author’s research is shoehorned in to such a degree that it hijacks the plot? Not so here. The cultural tidbits are an integral part of Mary Jane’s personality, and there’s no teasing them apart. Instead of distracting as it might in less capable hands, the folklore develops character and setting, and ultimately contributes to the plot, when Zona’s ghost returns to let Mary Jane know that she has been murdered. This is no-can-miss fiction, strongly recommended to those with a solid command of the English language and a love of great literature.
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  • Cindi (cheesygiraffe)
    January 1, 1970
    ***NetGalley Review***The book starts off in 1930 in an asylum for the insane. The lawyer, who helped defend a husband who was accused of murdering his wife back in 1897, has been institutionalized for attempting suicide. He begins his tale of the case to his doctor. Through him and others that were part of the case, we see what happens in 1897. The murdered daughter's mother tells the story of how Zona lead her life before she met her husband, how she met her husband, and the little bit of life ***NetGalley Review***The book starts off in 1930 in an asylum for the insane. The lawyer, who helped defend a husband who was accused of murdering his wife back in 1897, has been institutionalized for attempting suicide. He begins his tale of the case to his doctor. Through him and others that were part of the case, we see what happens in 1897. The murdered daughter's mother tells the story of how Zona lead her life before she met her husband, how she met her husband, and the little bit of life she had after their marriage. Her mother claims that Zona's ghost came to her to tell her that her husband murdered her. So the mother decides to get the law involved. For some reason, I think they didn't believe in her ghost story as much as they thought the husband was acting strangely. So Zona's body is exhumed. The autopsy proved she had been murdered. And so thus begins the trial of the Greenbriar ghost.I enjoyed this book. Sharyn McCrumb's writing style is what I call Southern Gothic. While I know this is based on a true story, I myself don't believe in ghosts. I do find old ghost stories fascinating, though.
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  • Bobbie
    January 1, 1970
    I read this book as an early review copy and I loved it. Having read several of McCrumb's book before, and been engaged and thrilled with her writing., I could not wait to read her newest book.The Unquiet Grave. I loved this read. McCrumb does what she does so well, skillfully combining historical facts with a fascinating story with a paranormal visitation. Basing her tale on folklore and actual people and events, McCrumb gives readers a suspense-filled mystery completely different from any of o I read this book as an early review copy and I loved it. Having read several of McCrumb's book before, and been engaged and thrilled with her writing., I could not wait to read her newest book.The Unquiet Grave. I loved this read. McCrumb does what she does so well, skillfully combining historical facts with a fascinating story with a paranormal visitation. Basing her tale on folklore and actual people and events, McCrumb gives readers a suspense-filled mystery completely different from any of others that they have read This is a wonderful book, check it out. I know you won't be disappointed. I think this is my favorite book of Sharyn McCrumb's so far. Wow!
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  • (Tori-Smexybooks) smexys_sidekick
    January 1, 1970
    Favorite Quote: ‘Death is quick but retribution moves at a snail’s place.’Reviewed by ToriThe Unquiet Grave by Sharyn McCrumb is an thought provoking tale of murder, revenge, the supernatural; all based on the true story of the Greenbrier Ghost, a piece of American Folklore. Through dual points of views and tenses, we are introduced to James P. D.Gardner and Mary Jane Heaster and shown the depths of a mother’s love and the extraordinary lengths she will go to for justice.Our story begins in a se Favorite Quote: ‘Death is quick but retribution moves at a snail’s place.’Reviewed by ToriThe Unquiet Grave by Sharyn McCrumb is an thought provoking tale of murder, revenge, the supernatural; all based on the true story of the Greenbrier Ghost, a piece of American Folklore. Through dual points of views and tenses, we are introduced to James P. D.Gardner and Mary Jane Heaster and shown the depths of a mother’s love and the extraordinary lengths she will go to for justice.Our story begins in a segregated insane asylum in the 1930s. An older black gentleman, James P. D. Gardner, has been committed for attempting suicide and the attending physician feels that discussing the past is what holds the key to the problems of the present. James decides to tell the Dr about the time he was asked to co-chair a murder trial in West Virginia with a white union sympathizing defense attorney whose past was far more scandalous than the accused, a white Confederate veteran prosecutor, and where a ghost was the only witness to the crime. From there, we switch to Mary Jane Heaster as she leads us up to the trial. Gardner then resumes his tale, describing the events of the trial and his actions defending the accused with Mary Jane interjecting as needed.Elva Zona Heaster was a wild child from the day she was born. Beautiful and headstrong, she refused to bow down to the dictates of parents or society and did as she pleased regardless of the outcome. While visiting family in Greenbrier County, she meets Erasmus (Edward) Trout Shue, an older handsome drifter who had recently moved there and worked as a blacksmith. Zona falls head over heels and against her mother’s advice, marries Edward. After weeks of silence, Mary Jane and her oldest son ride to the Shue’s home to check on Zona. Mary Jane eventually heads home, fearful for Zona. When riders come to the Heaster farm a few months later to inform them that Zona has died from a fall down the stairs, Mary Jane is convinced Edward killed Zona. Mary Jane goes to the local prosecutor and demands Edward be arrested for murder. She claims Zona’s ghost has come to her, showing her proof of Edward’s lies. She convinces the prosecutor to order an exhumation of the body. The examination shows foul play, Edward is arrested, and a trial date set.When I first picked this up, I read it fell under McCrumb’s Appalachian Ballad series though I didn’t see the connection. I did enjoy the story though it is definitely drier then what I’m used to from her. Hints of McCrumb’s trademark sly humor in her formattable characters and descriptive narrative help liven it up and force it along when it faltered. I had never heard of the Greenbrier Ghost before this but found McCrumb’s weaving of legend, fact, and fiction interesting, especially her use of the mother and the defense attorney to personalize the story.Though the story starts out ponderous, your curiously is gradually peaked with its haunting prose and straightforward telling. McCrumb’s research and meticulous attention to detail are showcased as she uses her skills and alternating points of view to paint us a picture of life in the rural South among the working class; drawing attention to the domestic violence and the social, economic, gender and race inequalities that existed. Heavily character driven, Heaster Gardner are the driving forces of the story, both compelling characters whose refusal to sugar coat their circumstances only adds to their appeal. Both are non-apologetic of what they are, accepting their place in life as simply a fact. Yet, there is intelligence, fortitude, and a quiet strength in them both, evidenced by their relentless pursuit of their goals.The ending is predictable of course but McCrumb adds her own twists to the story, leaving readers to question some of the ethical and moral dilemmas presented. An in-depth epilogue offers more answers and questions as McCrumb lays the story and those involved to rest.I do wish Gardner’s personal story had integrated better with the main storyline. As it was, I felt as though I was reading two distinctly different stories with no true common denominator. I also found the history lesson given on the civil war and the parts the defense attorney and the prosecutor played in it overly verbose and cumbersome. The point of that escaped me. Regardless, fans of Sharyn McCrumb and American Folklore are sure to enjoy her take on this popular piece of southern history. Grade: C+
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  • Deirdre
    January 1, 1970
    My dear friend Barbara gave me this book, not believing that she had never told me how much she loves McCrumb's writing. Having read only one other of her books, I quickly picked up this one and practically inhaled it.I thought, at first, that the story was based on an Appalachian folk legend, but it is actually based on historic fact. Since I have recently moved to North Carolina from California, I was ready for another Southern book, even though this one is based north of here in West Virginia My dear friend Barbara gave me this book, not believing that she had never told me how much she loves McCrumb's writing. Having read only one other of her books, I quickly picked up this one and practically inhaled it.I thought, at first, that the story was based on an Appalachian folk legend, but it is actually based on historic fact. Since I have recently moved to North Carolina from California, I was ready for another Southern book, even though this one is based north of here in West Virginia. The South certainly does have a different flavor, not just a different music, accent or language, and that is most pleasantly captured in this tale. What also captivated me were the characters, each having their own history that you can be swept into. The book is cut into portions, with the main characters telling their views of what happened and their involvement. This is not always an easy task for a writer, but McCrumb kneads her ingredients into a well-baked, multi-layered loaf that is a pleasure to consume. It is a different kind of murder mystery, not really a ghost story. Read the other reviews that tell more of the story, but remember it's really about the ballad and the flavor of this neck of the woods that will hold your interest.
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  • Andrea Knott
    January 1, 1970
    I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. This book is a fictionalized account of the murder of a West Virginia woman in the late 1800's and the resulting trial of her husband, the killer. It also relates the story of the attorney that helped to represent the husband. Along the way, the reader is also told the history of that area of West Virginia, the history of the family of the murdered woman, the history of the attorney that employed the attorney that defended the husband, and that I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. This book is a fictionalized account of the murder of a West Virginia woman in the late 1800's and the resulting trial of her husband, the killer. It also relates the story of the attorney that helped to represent the husband. Along the way, the reader is also told the history of that area of West Virginia, the history of the family of the murdered woman, the history of the attorney that employed the attorney that defended the husband, and that employer's various antics and misdeeds or accomplishments in the Civil War. This book is an extremely detailed depiction of the subject matter. As for the story itself, I thought the story moved rather slowly. Several times I fell asleep with this book in my hands, trying to finish it. If you love history, this is the book for you. If you are looking for a ghost story, this is NOT what you are looking for.
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  • Penmouse
    January 1, 1970
    The Unquiet Grave by Sharyn McCrumb has plenty of twists and turns leading to a surprising ending. At first her book moves along a bit slow but picks up speed towards the middle. The ending was an unexpected surprise to me as I never saw that as a possible outcome.The gist of her book revolves around the death of Zona Hester Shue who was killed by her husband Trout. At first everyone believes Zona died from an accidental death but her mother claimed to have seen a vision telling about what reall The Unquiet Grave by Sharyn McCrumb has plenty of twists and turns leading to a surprising ending. At first her book moves along a bit slow but picks up speed towards the middle. The ending was an unexpected surprise to me as I never saw that as a possible outcome.The gist of her book revolves around the death of Zona Hester Shue who was killed by her husband Trout. At first everyone believes Zona died from an accidental death but her mother claimed to have seen a vision telling about what really happened to her daughter.Eventually the legal authorities take note and decide to investigate leading to the arrest of Trout and later trial.I won't write more as that would give away the plot. Suffice it to say this book will keep you interested and the ending is a bit of a surprise.Recommend.Review written after downloading a galley from Net Galley.
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  • Carlissa
    January 1, 1970
    I have mixed feelings about this book. I really enjoyed the part of the story about James Gardener and Dr. William Rucker, the lawyers representing a man accused of killing his wife. This part of the story is told from Mr. Gardener's point of view while he is in a mental hospital and he is telling his doctor the story of the events prior to and during the trial. I thought this was a unique way of telling the story. The other part of the story is told by the victim's mother. This part of the stor I have mixed feelings about this book. I really enjoyed the part of the story about James Gardener and Dr. William Rucker, the lawyers representing a man accused of killing his wife. This part of the story is told from Mr. Gardener's point of view while he is in a mental hospital and he is telling his doctor the story of the events prior to and during the trial. I thought this was a unique way of telling the story. The other part of the story is told by the victim's mother. This part of the story I did not enjoy as much. Overall I did enjoy this story and recommend it for people who like historical fiction.I wish to thank Netgalley, the publisher, and the author for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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  • Linda Rowland
    January 1, 1970
    Could it be anything else but 5 stars? Always enjoyable from Elizabeth MacPherson to Bimbos of the Death Sun and Zombies of the Gene Pool through the Ballad series and NASCAR and her stand alone novels. She is at the top of my list.
  • Becky Mushko
    January 1, 1970
    THE UNQUIET GRAVE is a novel, but thanks to McCrumb's meticulous historical research, it reads like non-fiction. McCrumb conveys the story through two viewpoints: Zona's mother (Mary Jane Heaster) tells her side as a first person narrator, and a third person limited narrator tells the story of James P. D. Gardner, an African-American lawyer and one of Trout Shue's defense attorneys.The story alternates between Gardner's story in 1930 Larkin, West Virginia, and Mrs. Heaster's account of Zona and THE UNQUIET GRAVE is a novel, but thanks to McCrumb's meticulous historical research, it reads like non-fiction. McCrumb conveys the story through two viewpoints: Zona's mother (Mary Jane Heaster) tells her side as a first person narrator, and a third person limited narrator tells the story of James P. D. Gardner, an African-American lawyer and one of Trout Shue's defense attorneys.The story alternates between Gardner's story in 1930 Larkin, West Virginia, and Mrs. Heaster's account of Zona and her ill-fated marriage in Greenbrier County three decades earlier. Confined to an insane asylum because of his suicide attempt, Gardner tells the story of his most memorable case to one of the doctors, who thinks having Gardner talk about his experiences will help him recover. At the time of Zona's death, Gardner was a young man working in the law office of a former pro-Union slaveowner. Until the murder trial in 1898, he had done mostly routine work.Mrs. Heaster's story about her only daughter portrays Zona as a young woman who is too pretty for her own good and who does what she pleases. When Zona is impregnated by a local ne'er-do-well she doesn't want to marry even if he wanted to marry her, Mrs.Heaster makes arrangements for the baby to be given to an older couple back in the mountains. Free of the obligation to raising a child, Zona goes to Richlands to visit her cousins. There she meets a handsome young blacksmith, new in town, and they are instantly smitten with each other. In a few weeks they marry. Mrs. Heaster is suspicious of Trout Shue from the first time she meets him.A few months after her wedding, Zona is dead—supposedly from a broken neck suffered in a fall down the steps—and her mother is suspicious because of Trout's odd behavior at the funeral. A month later, Mrs. Heaster reports to the county prosecutor that her daughter appeared to her as a ghost and told her how Shue had murdered her. Zona's body is exhumed and examined, and it turns out that her broken neck was not from the fall after all. Shue is arrested for his wife's murder.Shue's defense attorney assigns his young assistant, Mr. Gardner, with the job of preparing a defense. While Gardner has a long legal career, Trout Shue's trial is the case that stands out the most—and the case he discusses with the young Dr. Boozer at the asylum. After all, it's the only known murder case where a ghost provided incriminating evidence.I won't give away anything else that happens in this book, except to note there are some interesting twists and turns. Read more about this new book here.The title, The Unquiet Grave, is apt. Both Gardner and Zona are connected by "unquiet" graves. Zora tells the story of her death after she's been buried for a month; while still alive, Gardner is "buried" in an insane asylum until he tells his story.The Unquiet Grave is Sharyn MCrumb at her best—meticulous research, interesting characters, and a compelling story! I read the review copy in two days (and nights)—it was so good I didn't want to put it down.(NOTE: The novel debuts in mid-September 2017, but I received an advance reader copy. I blogged about the book here: http://peevishpen.blogspot.com/2017/0...)
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  • Lori L (She Treads Softly)
    January 1, 1970
    The Unquiet Grave by Sharyn McCrumb is a highly recommended historical fiction novel set in nineteenth-century West Virginia. The novel is based on the true story of the Greenbrier Ghost.In 1930 after a failed suicide attempt, attorney James P. D. Gardner is in a segregated insane asylum located in Lakin, West Virginia. He begins a conversation with Dr. James Boozer, a young doctor who wants to try the new cure for insanity which involves talking to his patients. Dr. Boozer encourages his elderl The Unquiet Grave by Sharyn McCrumb is a highly recommended historical fiction novel set in nineteenth-century West Virginia. The novel is based on the true story of the Greenbrier Ghost.In 1930 after a failed suicide attempt, attorney James P. D. Gardner is in a segregated insane asylum located in Lakin, West Virginia. He begins a conversation with Dr. James Boozer, a young doctor who wants to try the new cure for insanity which involves talking to his patients. Dr. Boozer encourages his elderly patient to talk about his experiences as the first black attorney when he started practicing. Gardner discusses his most memorable case, a case based on the testimony of a ghost, the infamous Greenbrier Ghost.In 1897 Erasmus Trout Shue, a white man who was a blacksmith, was on trial in Greenbrier, West Virginia, for killing his bride, Zona Heaster. After they were married and Zona's mother, Mary Jane Heaster hadn't heard anything from her daughter, she finds out Zona has died. Mary Jane is sure her new husband had a hand in Zona's death and prays for a sign, which she receives. Then she tells the county prosecutor that Zona’s ghost has appeared to her several times, saying that she had been murdered. An exhumation and autopsy, ordered by the prosecutor, confirms her claim. At that time, Gardner was apprenticed to barrister William Rucker and acted as second chair in the defense of Shue at his murder trial.The premise of The Unquiet Grave is intriguing and clearly there was a lot of research that went into incorporating the legend of the Greenbrier Ghost in the story. The quality of the writing is excellent and the characters are well developed. What made the narrative suffer was the interview sections between the doctor and Gardiner in the 1930s, which, while they clearly perform a purpose in the novel, they also slow it down and become, well, a bit boring, especially in comparison to Mrs. Heaster's story. I found myself pushing my way through those chapters to get to the other chapters, which I found more interesting. It should also be noted that the humor McCrumb has in her other books is absent here.The novel does have some interesting historical insights into Gardner's struggles as a black lawyer in the south and his experience in a segregated asylum in the 1930's. Also Mrs. Heaster's fight for justice for Zona is truly a fight against a justice system controlled by men. Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Atria Books.http://www.shetreadssoftly.com/2017/0...
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  • Kristin
    January 1, 1970
    I've wanted to read Sharyn McCrumb for a long time, but to be honest I've been afraid to throw myself into the Ballad series because I knew I'd end up wanting to read the whole thing. This book was a good opportunity to dip my toes in without any fear of commitment! I think she does a great job of creating the feel of 1897 West Virginia through Mary Jane Heaster's story. The cadence and word choice feels old without making the story dull. By focusing on Mary jane, McCrumb is using a perspective I've wanted to read Sharyn McCrumb for a long time, but to be honest I've been afraid to throw myself into the Ballad series because I knew I'd end up wanting to read the whole thing. This book was a good opportunity to dip my toes in without any fear of commitment! I think she does a great job of creating the feel of 1897 West Virginia through Mary Jane Heaster's story. The cadence and word choice feels old without making the story dull. By focusing on Mary jane, McCrumb is using a perspective that makes the reader feel close to the action without speculating overmuch on events or getting too paranormal, as she would have if she focused on Zona. (And any speculation there is about the murder feels authentic just because the victim's mother surely would have done just that.)I was a bit less sold on the 1930 narrative that takes place in the West Virginia Asylum for the Colored Insane. (To be fair, my galley seemed to be missing a lot of chapter headings and so the transitions felt a lot jumpier than they might in the final novel.) Partially, I think it took a bit too long to relate the two stories, and even then the stories more brush against each other than overlap. Her focus on James Gardner's story seems more on the current social situation of blacks rather than his memories of the murder trial, which to me seems more relevant for the purposes of this novel. Perhaps it was to contrast the lot of blacks in the 1930s and women in the 1890s? Both stories were interesting in their own way, yet I couldn't help but feeling that McCrumb wasn't able to choose how she wanted to tell the story of the Greenbrier Ghost so she just picked her two top choices and went with it. So really, aside from the jarring nature of the two timelines (and my inevitable desire for more detail, of course), this was a fascinating book and beautifully written, which I've always heard about McCrumb's work. Her research is also clearly the best. (Particularly of interest to me was the subtle interjection of WV sentiment about the Civil War three decades after their split from Virginia and the end of the conflict.) Definitely feeling the need to read more of her books now.*edit: Well, on her website she has The Unquiet Grave listed under the Ballad novels even though it's not about NC, so I think I've been tricked into starting the series! On the bright side, since I've started out of order I can continue out of order and pick what I like the sound of the best!The fine print: received ARC from Edelweiss.
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  • Margaret Carter
    January 1, 1970
    Like many of McCrumb’s Appalachian “ballad novels,” this story is based on historical events, and all the principal characters actually existed. In 1897, within living memory of the Civil War and the split of West Virginia from Virginia, a young wife, Zona Heaster, dies, allegedly from a fall down a flight of stairs. An autopsy reveals that she was murdered, and her husband is charged. The uncanny title refers to the fact that the disinterment of the body comes about when Zona’s mother reports a Like many of McCrumb’s Appalachian “ballad novels,” this story is based on historical events, and all the principal characters actually existed. In 1897, within living memory of the Civil War and the split of West Virginia from Virginia, a young wife, Zona Heaster, dies, allegedly from a fall down a flight of stairs. An autopsy reveals that she was murdered, and her husband is charged. The uncanny title refers to the fact that the disinterment of the body comes about when Zona’s mother reports a visit from her daughter’s spirit, testifying to the murder. The bereaved mother pursues justice for her daughter with quiet relentlessness. Zona was a wild girl, having borne a baby out of wedlock, and her engagement to a slightly older man, married twice before, whom she’d known only a short time typical of her willfulness. Her parents don’t care much for her husband, and the way he isolates her from her family after marriage reinforces their opinion. The 1890s part of the story is told mostly in the first person by Zona’s mother. In 1930, James Gardner, a black lawyer who assisted in the accused murderer’s defense, is confined to an asylum for the mentally ill after a suicide attempt. He reminisces about the case to Dr. Boozer, a psychiatrist eager to try the newly fashionable “talking cure.” The narrative’s time-lapse double vision reveals insights about the culture of rural West Virginia in the late nineteenth century and the shifts in race relations (probably surprisingly to most readers, largely for the worse) between the 1890s and 1930. As with McCrumb’s other “ballad” mysteries, the focus is less on the solution to the crime (there’s no real doubt that Zona’s husband killed her) than on the characters involved and the community they live in. A solid addition to the series.
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  • Mary Garrett
    January 1, 1970
    The Unquiet Grave by Sharyn McCrumbJustice, her mother was simply looking for justice for her daughter Zona, who may have been a bit vain and foolish, but did not deserve her sad fate. I admired her determination in riding or walking miles in the cold, trying first to help her ailing Zona and then to bring her murderer to justice, doing what she needed to do. “Talking to a small town lawyer isn’t very daunting when you have been speaking with the dead.”A friend sent a link to the beautiful, sad The Unquiet Grave by Sharyn McCrumbJustice, her mother was simply looking for justice for her daughter Zona, who may have been a bit vain and foolish, but did not deserve her sad fate. I admired her determination in riding or walking miles in the cold, trying first to help her ailing Zona and then to bring her murderer to justice, doing what she needed to do. “Talking to a small town lawyer isn’t very daunting when you have been speaking with the dead.”A friend sent a link to the beautiful, sad ballad, and between that and reading, I found myself transported to the mountains, the isolation and harshness and the beauty of those mountains. The ending brought memories of visiting the prison in Moundsville as well and seeing murals painted by men locked away from their beloved mountains and rivers. I admire the thorough research that made the story ring true, and the writing talent that kept the story flowing along two time lines, the 1897 trial and the recollection of it within an asylum in 1930-31. This is a compelling book, worth setting aside worldly tasks and electronic entertainments to be immersed in a different time and place. I was charmed by the little detail of a baby entertained by a feather stuck to a bit of honey on his hands; my grandma had told me of this way of keeping a baby busy. Some bits of wisdom:Sanity seems to be mostly a consensus of opinion . . .There’s little enough time for a woman to be young in this world.. . . lawyerlike, he thought of marriage as more of a contract . . . for their mutual benefit . . for the good of the community and the benefit of the family.. . . a placid existence could be considered an achievement in this uncertain world . . .“Life is mostly contrary to expectations . . .”
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  • Paul Franco
    January 1, 1970
    My love for Sharyn McCrumb—or at least her early works—battles with my dislike for historical fiction, or in this case a necessarily fictionalized version of a true legend, the story of the Greenbrier Ghost.There’s very little here about the actual murder trial. Of course it would be pretty dry if it was just an account of the case, but this story blossoms into over 350 pages of background on the family of the murder victim as well as one of the defense attorneys, with him telling the story many My love for Sharyn McCrumb—or at least her early works—battles with my dislike for historical fiction, or in this case a necessarily fictionalized version of a true legend, the story of the Greenbrier Ghost.There’s very little here about the actual murder trial. Of course it would be pretty dry if it was just an account of the case, but this story blossoms into over 350 pages of background on the family of the murder victim as well as one of the defense attorneys, with him telling the story many years later as he’s sitting in a psychiatric facility, encouraged by his doctor to talk about what it was like being the first black lawyer in West Virginia. The two distinct storylines made it hard for me to remember one while reading the other; the book goes to exactly the halfway mark before the two threads tie together.At one point I thought, “So many hints about how bad Zona’s husband is; wish she’d get on with it.” So yes, I’m a jinx.This is the kind of brilliance she can bring: “The time between their first setting eyes on one another and their wedding day was both too long and too short, depending on how you looked at it.” But the dazzling nuggets of prose are too few amongst long dull descriptions. Yes, I fully admit I’m looking at this through the kaleidoscope that was her early humorous work, but even when compared to her Appalachian series this was still a more difficult read than it needed to be.
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  • Roxann
    January 1, 1970
    The Unquiet Grave is about the Greenbrier Ghost legend in West Virginia. The story tells about a ghost of a young woman, Zona Heaster Shue, who visits her mother and tells her how she had died. Mary Jane, the mother, is determined to prove that her daughter was murdered. She goes to town to tell the prosecutor that Zona ghost appeared to her and knows she was murdered. Zona's body is then exhumed and everyone was shocked to find that Mary Jane was right! This book is in two parts-one is the stor The Unquiet Grave is about the Greenbrier Ghost legend in West Virginia. The story tells about a ghost of a young woman, Zona Heaster Shue, who visits her mother and tells her how she had died. Mary Jane, the mother, is determined to prove that her daughter was murdered. She goes to town to tell the prosecutor that Zona ghost appeared to her and knows she was murdered. Zona's body is then exhumed and everyone was shocked to find that Mary Jane was right! This book is in two parts-one is the story of Zona as given through the mother’s eyes. The other part is about James Gardener and Dr. William Rucker, the lawyers representing a man accused of killing his wife. This part of the story is told from Mr. Gardener's point of view while he is in a mental hospital and he is telling his doctor the story of the events prior to and during the trial. This was an interesting book. I had never heard of the Greenbrier Ghost before. The author did a great job telling the story and adding in some depth to the characters. It was sad how the mother had to tell everyone a ghost was visiting her, but somehow she convinced the DA to look at her daughter’s death. Interesting way to get to a trial. Not the best book I have read, but an interesting one.I received the book for free through Goodreads Giveaways.
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  • Linda
    January 1, 1970
    I have always enjoyed folktales. Stories passed down from generation to generation hold richness like no other. In the times when families gathered around the fire telling tall tales in the hills of W. VA “The Greenbrier Ghost" saga was sure to be included. From 1897 to 2017 this story is still being told. This time by a skilled author who has complied fact, hearsay and folklore to give us a better glimpse of the people behind the tale to show just how Zona Heaster Shue, the young 20 year old be I have always enjoyed folktales. Stories passed down from generation to generation hold richness like no other. In the times when families gathered around the fire telling tall tales in the hills of W. VA “The Greenbrier Ghost" saga was sure to be included. From 1897 to 2017 this story is still being told. This time by a skilled author who has complied fact, hearsay and folklore to give us a better glimpse of the people behind the tale to show just how Zona Heaster Shue, the young 20 year old beauty came to be known as “The Greenbrier Ghost”. Most notable are her mother, Mary Jane Heaster’s efforts to seek justice for Zona her daughter. With determination and conviction she let none deter her in that quest. There are colorful characters such as Dr. Rucker, physician and attorney for the defense. Quite an accomplishment for the time I’d say. And attorney PD Gardner the first black attorney for the defense on a murder case. Prosecutor John Alfred Preston’s willingness to take the case under most unusual circumstances. Reading the author’s notes at the end was a bonus not to be missed. Here is where I gained an appreciation for the research & sleuthing needed to connect the pieces in order to compile a narration such as this. I did like the book, but I like some of ther others better.
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  • Mirella
    January 1, 1970
    Sharyn McCrumb returns with a haunting tale based upon actual true life events. It is about the murder of a young wife and the subsequent trial of the accused, her husband. What makes the tale fascinating is the convicting testimony came from the victim's mother who gave evidence that her daughter's ghost led her to discover the death was actually a murder. This resulted in the exhumation of the corpse and the subsequent charges and trial. Set in the late 1800's, the novel explores the victim, a Sharyn McCrumb returns with a haunting tale based upon actual true life events. It is about the murder of a young wife and the subsequent trial of the accused, her husband. What makes the tale fascinating is the convicting testimony came from the victim's mother who gave evidence that her daughter's ghost led her to discover the death was actually a murder. This resulted in the exhumation of the corpse and the subsequent charges and trial. Set in the late 1800's, the novel explores the victim, accused, and family. In addition, time is spent on the backgrounds of the prosecutor and defence lawyers. Known as the case of the Greenbriar Ghost, the author has researched the case in great detail, drawing on photos, maps, and legal certificates of those involved. Another historical fact is that the defence lawyer was the first black attorney in Virginia. The first half of the book is fast paced and gripping. A bit of momentum is lost in the second half as the conversation between the defence lawyer and his psychiatric doctor in the mental institution revealing details of the case dragged a bit.Nevertheless, the story and characters kept me enthralled to the end. A nice mix of mystery and folk tale! Definitely recommended.
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  • Laura Newsholme
    January 1, 1970
    I found this a really fascinating read with lots of little details that helped to provide authenticity along the way. The novel is split between two narratives - that of Mary Jane as she tells the story of her daughter and her husband in the late 1800s and then that of Dr James Boozer as he attempts the 'talking cure' on one of his patients in 1930. Both points of view are really well drawn, giving each narrator a truly unique voice. The plot is quite simple in structure and progresses nicely, g I found this a really fascinating read with lots of little details that helped to provide authenticity along the way. The novel is split between two narratives - that of Mary Jane as she tells the story of her daughter and her husband in the late 1800s and then that of Dr James Boozer as he attempts the 'talking cure' on one of his patients in 1930. Both points of view are really well drawn, giving each narrator a truly unique voice. The plot is quite simple in structure and progresses nicely, giving the reader enough time to really live with the characters without feeling a lack of pace or similarly, being moved along too quickly. I found the relationship between Boozer and Gardener beautifully understated and full of warmth and mutual respect. The reader is given a real sense of the difference thirty years can make in history and overall, I thought this was an accomplished novel.I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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  • Annie
    January 1, 1970
    The Unquiet Grave is another entry in Sharyn McCrumb’s long bibliography in which the author takes an Appalachian folk tale and turns the story into a novel. Here, she shows the depth and breadth of her research in telling the story of Zona Heaster Shue, the Greenbriar Ghost. This book has some very good characterization, but I feel there were missed opportunities, as well as a lot of repetitive text that needed to be edited out...Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free c The Unquiet Grave is another entry in Sharyn McCrumb’s long bibliography in which the author takes an Appalachian folk tale and turns the story into a novel. Here, she shows the depth and breadth of her research in telling the story of Zona Heaster Shue, the Greenbriar Ghost. This book has some very good characterization, but I feel there were missed opportunities, as well as a lot of repetitive text that needed to be edited out...Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley for review consideration.
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  • Dorothy Bacon
    January 1, 1970
    Have always looked forward to a new McCrumb because of her ability to capture the haunting beauty and mystery of Appalachia. This novel moved into another setting, but the author's descriptions were no less striking. I gave it four stars because too much time was spent on the (true) history of one of the secondary villains. But as a former graduate student who always wanted to include all my research, I understood perfectly McCrumb's need to give her readers everything about the tale of the ghos Have always looked forward to a new McCrumb because of her ability to capture the haunting beauty and mystery of Appalachia. This novel moved into another setting, but the author's descriptions were no less striking. I gave it four stars because too much time was spent on the (true) history of one of the secondary villains. But as a former graduate student who always wanted to include all my research, I understood perfectly McCrumb's need to give her readers everything about the tale of the ghost witness.
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  • Ptaylor
    January 1, 1970
    McCrumb gives us a wonderful ghost story. Zona Heaster Shue is found dead at the foot of the stairs, and her husband insists that she not be disturbed. He hovers around so that Dr. Knapp signs the death certificate citing an "everlasting faint" as the cause of death. Zona's mother, Mary Jane Heaster, is convinced that Shue murdered her daughter, but how can she prove it? How can she get justice for Zona? Highly recommended for those who enjoy strong female characters, historical fiction, and jus McCrumb gives us a wonderful ghost story. Zona Heaster Shue is found dead at the foot of the stairs, and her husband insists that she not be disturbed. He hovers around so that Dr. Knapp signs the death certificate citing an "everlasting faint" as the cause of death. Zona's mother, Mary Jane Heaster, is convinced that Shue murdered her daughter, but how can she prove it? How can she get justice for Zona? Highly recommended for those who enjoy strong female characters, historical fiction, and just a bit of the supernatural.
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