The Road to Bittersweet
Set in the Carolinas in the 1940s, The Road to Bittersweet is a beautifully written, evocative account of a young woman reckoning not just with the unforgiving landscape, but with the rocky emotional terrain that leads from innocence to wisdom.For fourteen-year-old Wallis Ann Stamper and her family, life in the Appalachian Mountains is simple and satisfying, though not for the tenderhearted. While her older sister, Laci—a mute, musically gifted savant—is constantly watched over and protected, Wallis Ann is as practical and sturdy as her name. When the Tuckasegee River bursts its banks, forcing them to flee in the middle of the night, those qualities save her life. But though her family is eventually reunited, the tragedy opens Wallis Ann’s eyes to a world beyond the creek that’s borne their name for generations.Carrying what’s left of their possessions, the Stampers begin another perilous journey from their ruined home to the hill country of South Carolina. Wallis Ann’s blossoming friendship with Clayton, a high diving performer for a traveling show, sparks a new opportunity, and the family joins as a singing group. But Clayton’s attention to Laci drives a wedge between the two sisters. As jealousy and betrayal threaten to accomplish what hardship never could—divide the family for good—Wallis Ann makes a decision that will transform them all in unforeseeable ways…

The Road to Bittersweet Details

TitleThe Road to Bittersweet
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseDec 26th, 2017
PublisherKensington
ISBN-139781496709493
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Young Adult, Coming Of Age

The Road to Bittersweet Review

  • Angela M
    January 1, 1970
    You could call this a coming of age novel and I would agree, but it's not a typical coming of age story. You could say that the ending is a little too pat, maybe even a little too predictable and I could agree with that . For me though, the important thing about this story is that I found it to be an excellent work of historical fiction. It's 1940 in North Carolina, and the dam of the Tuckasegee river has broken with the torrential rains. Fourteen year old Wallis Ann and her family, her mother a You could call this a coming of age novel and I would agree, but it's not a typical coming of age story. You could say that the ending is a little too pat, maybe even a little too predictable and I could agree with that . For me though, the important thing about this story is that I found it to be an excellent work of historical fiction. It's 1940 in North Carolina, and the dam of the Tuckasegee river has broken with the torrential rains. Fourteen year old Wallis Ann and her family, her mother and father, her three year old brother Seph and her older sister, Laci, a savant who doesn't speak but plays music from memory and accompanies the family when they perform as a singing group on occasion, make a harrowing escape from the flood. The descriptions of the devastation are fantastic and so realistic as evidenced by the photographs I found online (link is below). I could see Wallis Ann hanging on to a tree limb , desperate to survive, thinking about the rest of her family who were torn from the truck as they attempted to escape. Wallis Ann is smart and tough and manages to stay alive , find her way back to what was left of their home and desperately waits for her family's return. Such a burden on this young girl as she helps her father try to rebuild their home, try to find food to survive, and watch over Laci. Such a heavy burden on a fourteen year old girl, the hard labor, the guilt she carries over her little brother Seph. Rebuilding becomes impossible with no tools, and little in the way of food, so they leave and end up as a singing group in a carnival and things get complicated for Wallis Ann and her family and they return home. I don't want to say more about the plot. This is a story of a close family and their hardship and hope as they try to survive the tragic circumstances of loss from the devastation of the flood . Of course I had to do searching to find out more about these floods in NC in 1940 and there was truly devastation and loss as this story reflects . 4 stars and recommended. Some photos of the devastation caused by this flood: http://www.thesylvaherald.com/gallery...I received an advanced copy of this book from Kensington Books through Edelweiss and NetGalley.
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  • Cheri
    January 1, 1970
    A picture of a casually sweet, demurely seated young girl in a crisp, white sundress adorns the cover, her legs crossed at her ankles, her feet bare and almost tucked into the grass beneath, delicately holding something between her hands which seems to be almost imperceptibly, the bare old wood porch lending an air of hardship to their humble home. Off to the side are the words: ”It takes courage to find your way…”That certainly holds true in this story. The Year is 1940; the Stamper family live A picture of a casually sweet, demurely seated young girl in a crisp, white sundress adorns the cover, her legs crossed at her ankles, her feet bare and almost tucked into the grass beneath, delicately holding something between her hands which seems to be almost imperceptibly, the bare old wood porch lending an air of hardship to their humble home. Off to the side are the words: ”It takes courage to find your way…”That certainly holds true in this story. The Year is 1940; the Stamper family lives in Stampers Creek, their creek off the Tuckasegee River near Cashiers, North Carolina. Wallis Ann is fourteen, two years younger than her sister Laci, who does not speak, has never spoken, but has the ability to play music after hearing it only once or twice, on a variety of instruments: piano, fiddle, banjo, Mountain dulcimer. ”Only the music truly speaks to her.” Seph is the youngest at three. As a family, they sometimes perform locally; the girls wearing their feed sack dresses, and sometimes receive tokens of thanks in exchange for the gift they bring to others. A simple life, a life that suits them fairly well. And then the rains came.Hold back the river, let me look in your eyesHold back the river, so ICan stop for a minute and see where you hideHold back the river, hold back.--- Songwriters: Iain Archer / James BayThey grab what they can, trying to get away in their truck while they still are able. The water keeps rising, and the driving gets more treacherous. Eventually, the waters take control of the car, pushing it along, as Wallis Ann’s family struggle to get to the highest point of the truck, Wallis Ann is swept away, eventually grabbing onto a sturdy enough tree branch, and finds a place to hold onto something solid, unmoving. She holds on long enough to see the waters subside, climbing down to the mucky surface.Tried to keep you close to meBut life got in betweenTried to square not being thereBut think that I should have been. --- Songwriters: Iain Archer / James BayFinding her way back home through sheer determination, a need to reunite with her family, and the kindness of strangers, she heads back to what remains of their home, their barn, and tries to work on, rebuild, what she can. Lonely water, lonely water, won't you let us wanderLet us hold each otherLonely water, lonely water, won't you let us wanderLet us hold each other--- Songwriters: Iain Archer / James BayRebuilding begins to seem like an insurmountable task, even after time passes and her mother and father and sister Laci return, there are no tools, not enough food, and winter is coming on. And so, once more, they are forced to leave their home, this time in the hopes of finding salvation somewhere.There is an aspect of this that will be seen primarily as a coming of age story, but in truth Wallis Ann seems as though she was born an adult, and has certainly seems to have carried the weight of an adult in her household. There are some momentary glimpses of her more innocent, youthful side especially when it comes to more adult ways outside her ken, but there is the larger side of her that seems to take on responsibility for things beyond her control. I read, and really enjoyed, Donna Everhart’s ”The Education of Dixie Dupree” so I was really looking forward to reading her soon-to-be released ”The Road to Bittersweet” and I was not disappointed. They are very different stories, but this has a strong, young heroine that will surely grab hold of your heart and have you rooting for her to not only find safety, but acceptance and love. Pub Date: 26 December 2017Many thanks for the ARC provided by Kensington Books
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  • Deborah Blanchard
    January 1, 1970
    "It takes courage to find your way" This is true throughout this book. This story takes place in the 1940's in the Appalachian Mountains. The Stampers live on the river and lead a simple life, until a hurricane destroys their home as the flood waters rise. They are forced to leave. This is their story as told by Wallis Ann, the middle child, age 14. I found this to be a true coming of age novel, filled with feeling and teaming with emotion. Wallis Ann is strong and determined, yet is but a teen "It takes courage to find your way" This is true throughout this book. This story takes place in the 1940's in the Appalachian Mountains. The Stampers live on the river and lead a simple life, until a hurricane destroys their home as the flood waters rise. They are forced to leave. This is their story as told by Wallis Ann, the middle child, age 14. I found this to be a true coming of age novel, filled with feeling and teaming with emotion. Wallis Ann is strong and determined, yet is but a teen trying to find her place. The language is evocative of the "mountain people" and I came to love the way that they spoke. It seemed so true to this time period and where it takes place. This story will tug at your heartstrings and keep you praying for this family. I felt as if I was there. I could hear the creek flowing, I could hear the birds singing. I was a part of their struggles and the triumphs. I was inside of this book, heart and soul, throughout. This book definitely makes you feel. I could feel the fear, the happiness, the love and the pain. This book is so well written, that you can't help but fall within its pages. It flows effortlessly just like the river, from beginning to end. The story is vivid in its depictions. All of the characters are richly developed and believable. This family always had hope and faith. They had their fair share of struggles, but in the end, family is what matters most. " We're going to keep on having hope until there's no possibility of having it anymore. That's all we can do." Love is what carries throughout this book, with all its bumps and bruises. In the end, love and hope is what carries us all. I truly hope you will read this incredible book. You will not be able to put it down. I read until my eyes were blurry from fatigue. Thank you, Donna Everhart, for writing such an exquisite novel. I know I will not forget the Stamper family ,their struggles or their love for a very long time. I will remember Wallis Ann and her story forever. Pick up this book when it comes out on December 26, 2017. Please. It is worth every penny to read it.
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  • Judy
    January 1, 1970
    A riveting piece of southern historical fiction! I love stories of Appalachia and the south in general. This is a story of hardship and survival through the eyes of Wallis Stamper. This is somewhat of a coming of age story as well. I loved the author's writing style which puts you in the setting and nailed the language of Appalachia.Wallis Stamper and her family were caught in the flood of the Tuckasegee river near Cashiers, North Carolina in 1940 when a dam broke after torrential rains. The flo A riveting piece of southern historical fiction! I love stories of Appalachia and the south in general. This is a story of hardship and survival through the eyes of Wallis Stamper. This is somewhat of a coming of age story as well. I loved the author's writing style which puts you in the setting and nailed the language of Appalachia.Wallis Stamper and her family were caught in the flood of the Tuckasegee river near Cashiers, North Carolina in 1940 when a dam broke after torrential rains. The flooding was devastating and the Stamper family lost everything. Fourteen-year-old Wallis and her parents, her sixteen-year-old sister Laci (a mute savant, who can play any musical instrument), and her three-year-old brother Seph survive the flood but have to start over with nothing - nowhere to sleep, nothing to eat, no change of clothes, and no money - nothing at all.Wallis is a very strong character who seems much older than her years. She has a lot of courage and determination and shoulders much responsibility. Thanks to Donna Everhart and Kensington Books through Netgalley for an advance copy of this novel.
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  • Betty
    January 1, 1970
    After reading The Education of Dixie Dupree, I knew I'd be reading Donna Everhart's next novel, but I didn't expect to have the pleasure of reading her second book this year. (I'm an Outlander fan, so I'm accustomed to waiting four years-ish for a new novel from an author I love.) Needless to say, I was thrilled to see THE ROAD TO BITTERSWEET listed on Edelweiss, and requested it immediately.Set in 1940s Appalachia, THE ROAD TO BITTERSWEET is the story of the Stamper family—told from the perspec After reading The Education of Dixie Dupree, I knew I'd be reading Donna Everhart's next novel, but I didn't expect to have the pleasure of reading her second book this year. (I'm an Outlander fan, so I'm accustomed to waiting four years-ish for a new novel from an author I love.) Needless to say, I was thrilled to see THE ROAD TO BITTERSWEET listed on Edelweiss, and requested it immediately.Set in 1940s Appalachia, THE ROAD TO BITTERSWEET is the story of the Stamper family—told from the perspective of fourteen-year-old Wallis Ann—who live in Stamper's Creek, North Carolina. She—along with her parents, younger brother Seph, and older sister Lacia—is forced to flee the family home when a hurricane strikes, bringing torrential rains that results in the devastating flood of the Tuckasegee river. In the midst of their escape, their truck is swept away by the flood waters. They manage to retreat to the back of the truck, but three family members, including Wallis Ann, go over the side when the truck strikes something in the water.The family is eventually reunited, gathering at the place where their home once stood, having lost everything but each other. They set about the business of surviving as best they can with few resources, making do with the little they have, when tragedy strikes a second time. Broken, they abandon their destroyed home and travel from place to place, singing to earn a little money. On the brink of starvation, Wallis Ann meets a young man named Clayton near one of the campsites they frequented as they roamed the area. They quickly became friends, and Wallis Ann has her first taste of young love.Thanks to Clayton's suggestion, the family is employed as a singing act for a traveling circus. The Stampers are relieved to finally have a semblance of stability, but Wallis Ann can't help but notice the attention Clayton gives to Laci. Her jealousy sets in motion a chain of events that results in another bout of anguish for the family—one that they may not be able to overcome.Everhart has created a beautiful story of struggle and survival against impossible odds. I fell in love with the Stamper family almost immediately. Each member of this family endeared themselves to me, and are very relatable characters. Novels that focus on people (or families) left struggling after a catastrophic event have always appealed to me, and THE ROAD TO BITTERSWEET paints a realistic picture of not only that, but of the heavy emotional toll that comes with it. The title itself (which I think is perfect!) hints this will be an often sad story, and it is... but it is not without hope. Even in their darkest days, even if they want to, the Stampers never give up. They keep on, no matter what.I loved this story. It put me through the emotional wringer over and over again, with some portions affecting me so greatly I had to set the book aside for a bit in order to process it, and prepare myself to read on. There were things about Laci that I kept wishing to know more about, but that a desire on my part, not something that critically affected the story by its lack. If anything, it's a tribute to how wonderfully written Laci and all the other characters were, that I was left wishing to know more!If you enjoy Southern fiction or coming-of-age stories, I highly recommend that this one be added to your list. It's a fabulous book... one I hope others will enjoy as much as I did.I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Kensington via Edelweiss.
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  • Sue
    January 1, 1970
    "...it was like all we'd been doing was traveling down a road towards this bittersweet ending. Nothing could change what we'd been through." These are thoughts from Wallis Ann Stamper, the 14 year old main character in The Road to Bittersweet. And what a road she and her family had been down. Living in a rural area in the Appalachian mountains in 1940 with her parents, sister Lacy and baby brother, they lived a hard scrabble life but always had food on the table and love within the family as wel "...it was like all we'd been doing was traveling down a road towards this bittersweet ending. Nothing could change what we'd been through." These are thoughts from Wallis Ann Stamper, the 14 year old main character in The Road to Bittersweet. And what a road she and her family had been down. Living in a rural area in the Appalachian mountains in 1940 with her parents, sister Lacy and baby brother, they lived a hard scrabble life but always had food on the table and love within the family as well as their love of singing. Until the night that the Tuckasegee river overflowed its banks and forced them out of the house that had been in their family for generations. The family's flight during the flood was one of the scariest things that I've read in a long time. Wallis Ann survives the flood and starts looking for her family. Miles away from her home, she learns a lot about herself and the world that she had never been part of. The family gets reunited at the site of their home but they continue to struggle as they try to re-build. As the family tries to survive, they have to leave their mountain home and go out into the world where family loyalties are tested and decisions are made that cause horrible repercussions to them all.Wallis Ann is a fantastic main character. She is strong and can work like a man but she still has the feelings of a young girl. We see the land and the family problems through her watchful eyes and we see her change from innocence to wisdom about life and her family. This is a wonderful novel and I think it will be one of the most read books this winter. The is the second fantastic book by this author and if you haven't read her first book The Education of Dixie Dupree, you need to read it too.Warning: Be sure to clear your calendar before you start reading The Road to Bittersweet because once you start, you won't want to put it down until you finish. Trust me, there were no meals cooked or cleaning done at my house once I opened this book.Thanks to the author for a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own.
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  • Christine Moore
    January 1, 1970
    The Road to Bittersweet is about Wallis Ann Stamper and her family living in the mountains of North Carolina. A flood rolls through the town and they escape their home with the clothes on their backs. It is a beautifully written book about family, love, and hope. The descriptions in the book make you feel like you are part of the story. You can picture everything the author writes. I read this book in one sitting as I couldn't put it down. I loved Wallis and her family. Wallis is 14 and the stro The Road to Bittersweet is about Wallis Ann Stamper and her family living in the mountains of North Carolina. A flood rolls through the town and they escape their home with the clothes on their backs. It is a beautifully written book about family, love, and hope. The descriptions in the book make you feel like you are part of the story. You can picture everything the author writes. I read this book in one sitting as I couldn't put it down. I loved Wallis and her family. Wallis is 14 and the strong one of the family. Laci who is 16 is mute but can play any instrument and any song she hears one time. LIttle Seph and all his energy! Their Mom and Dad even after losing their home still have hope. I received an ARC from NetGalley and Kensington Books. All opinions are my own.
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  • Susan Peterson
    January 1, 1970
    The Road to Bittersweet captivated me from the very first line, a beautiful story written with beautiful, authentic prose evocative of the Appalachian Mountains where the story takes place; filled with images so clear that I could hear the rush of the water, I could feel the gnawing hunger in my own stomach, and mostly I could empathize with all of the emotions churning inside the characters....especially Wallis Ann. Wallis Ann and her family eked out a hardscrabble life, not knowing how rich th The Road to Bittersweet captivated me from the very first line, a beautiful story written with beautiful, authentic prose evocative of the Appalachian Mountains where the story takes place; filled with images so clear that I could hear the rush of the water, I could feel the gnawing hunger in my own stomach, and mostly I could empathize with all of the emotions churning inside the characters....especially Wallis Ann. Wallis Ann and her family eked out a hardscrabble life, not knowing how rich they truly were until everything they owned was swept away by floodwaters. The characters, richly written, were vivid in my mind; Laci, a musically gifted young lady who has never uttered a word; William and Ann, devoted, hard-working parents pushed to the brink of desperation and sorrow. But it was Wallis Ann who took up most of the space in my heart; a 14-year-old girl who shoulders so many responsibilities; scrappy, resilient, stubborn, confused, brave, smart...a young girl on the brink of womanhood...Wallis Ann is transformed by the hardships, tragedy, and love that surround her. The author has a gift for writing characters who not only undergo changes of their own...they also provide insight and wisdom to readers, showing us a way to look at life differently, gaining a new perspective of our own. This is a book that is hard to put down; a book that I read with my pulse racing, my heart in my throat. My favorite passage from the book, which really resonated with me: “Windows give you a view, otherwise you can't see nothing, no matter how hard you try. It ain't much different in how we look at our world from inside ourselves."
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  • Eldonna Edwards
    January 1, 1970
    As a huge fan of Donna Everhart's debut, THE EDUCATION OF DIXIE DUPREE, I was thrilled to receive an ARC of THE ROAD TO BITTERSWEET. I'm a sucker for coming-of-age stories set in the south. Needless to say, I adored this one as well. The immersion into time and place, the hardship, the resilience, the loss/grief/acceptance, all of it. Her characters are so well-drawn that you feel as though you're watching them from a broke-down porch step somewhere deep in a Carolina holler as the story unfolds As a huge fan of Donna Everhart's debut, THE EDUCATION OF DIXIE DUPREE, I was thrilled to receive an ARC of THE ROAD TO BITTERSWEET. I'm a sucker for coming-of-age stories set in the south. Needless to say, I adored this one as well. The immersion into time and place, the hardship, the resilience, the loss/grief/acceptance, all of it. Her characters are so well-drawn that you feel as though you're watching them from a broke-down porch step somewhere deep in a Carolina holler as the story unfolds. Like Dixie, I love the scrappy indefatigability of her protagonist, Wallis Ann, who is so believable and earnest. She has you rooting for her from the moment that first drop of rain falls, through the flood, and all the way to a conclusion that kept me turning pages well past my bedtime. Donna Everhart you owe me some cream for these eyebags. Well done, once again. Can't wait for the next one.
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  • EMGoldsmith
    January 1, 1970
    I was lucky enough to score an ARC of Donna Everhart’s The Road to Bittersweet. I absolutely loved her debut book, The Education of Dixie Dupree so I was very excited to get her latest book.The Road to Bittersweet follows the Stamper family through trials and tribulations as a flood destroys their home in the foothills of South Carolina. Woven into this tale of tragedy and redemption is a lovely story between two sisters, Wallis and Laci. Younger Wallis is a sturdy sort of girl, very near the op I was lucky enough to score an ARC of Donna Everhart’s The Road to Bittersweet. I absolutely loved her debut book, The Education of Dixie Dupree so I was very excited to get her latest book.The Road to Bittersweet follows the Stamper family through trials and tribulations as a flood destroys their home in the foothills of South Carolina. Woven into this tale of tragedy and redemption is a lovely story between two sisters, Wallis and Laci. Younger Wallis is a sturdy sort of girl, very near the opposite of her fey older sister, Laci, lithe and lovely but autistic. Laci is a music savant who does not speak, and Wallis has assisted in Laci’s care her entire life. When a young man, Clayton, appears on the scene and earns Wallis’s regard, the relationship between the sisters is tested and changed as Clayton pays more attention to Laci over Wallis. The Road to Bittersweet is a lyrically emotional journey and a beautiful coming of age tale of faith and family. Donna Everhart is off to a wonderful start in her literary career, and I look forward too many more wonderful journeys with her work.
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  • Jeannine Mallory
    January 1, 1970
    In an enthralling second book, Donna Everhart brings us the never-dull story of a rural, Southern family struggling to accept and adapt to life after tragedy, as seen through the eyes of fourteen-year Wallis Ann Stamper. The Road to Bittersweet, is a sweeping story that takes you along with the Stampers as they try to rebuild their lives after a devastating flood takes their home, and so much more. And even though the story centers on one family’s tragedy, it brings hope. Better things lie ahead In an enthralling second book, Donna Everhart brings us the never-dull story of a rural, Southern family struggling to accept and adapt to life after tragedy, as seen through the eyes of fourteen-year Wallis Ann Stamper. The Road to Bittersweet, is a sweeping story that takes you along with the Stampers as they try to rebuild their lives after a devastating flood takes their home, and so much more. And even though the story centers on one family’s tragedy, it brings hope. Better things lie ahead, and life without change is no life at all. This is not a book you read; it’s a book you absorb.
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  • Peta Benjamin
    January 1, 1970
    Wallis Ann Stamper is just an ordinary girl. She lives at Stampers Creek with her Momma, Papa, Sister Laci and little brother Seph, money was tight but they had everything they wanted. They lived a peaceful life until the day the Creek broke it's banks and they were swept away in their car.Wallis Ann's Momma relies a lot on her, Laci was born mute and little Seph is only three so much of the outside work helping her Papa is left to Wallis Ann along with helping her Momma too.They are a good Chur Wallis Ann Stamper is just an ordinary girl. She lives at Stampers Creek with her Momma, Papa, Sister Laci and little brother Seph, money was tight but they had everything they wanted. They lived a peaceful life until the day the Creek broke it's banks and they were swept away in their car.Wallis Ann's Momma relies a lot on her, Laci was born mute and little Seph is only three so much of the outside work helping her Papa is left to Wallis Ann along with helping her Momma too.They are a good Church going family and have the lovely ability of singing in Church, even though Laci can't talk it was discovered one day that she can play musical instruments, just hearing a tune once and mastering it immediately.When tragedy struck, the Stampers found themselves near to starvation and with nowhere to live they went on the road trying to stay alive by singing for money. After a chance meeting with a young man, Wallis Ann and her family joined up with a travelling Circus and found they finally had food in their bellies and some money to start building a life again but more heartbreak was in store for the Stamper family and with Momma now at breaking point and the family breaking apart, Wallis Ann can't help but blame herself for what had occurred because of her jealousy.This book was very easy to read, the story flowed really well and I would definitely read more by this Author.Thanks to Netgalley and Kensington Books for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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  • Bittan Handford
    January 1, 1970
    It’s been a few days since I finished this book but wanted to digest it before writing a review.First off, a big thank you to Donna Everhart for having a giveaway that I was lucky to win.This is not a book I would normally pick up and I was excited to meet a new author.What was most amazing about this book was the way it’s written. The words and how they are spelled makes me “hear” the accent and the expressions the way they would have been spoken, old fashioned and somewhat uneducated. Very eff It’s been a few days since I finished this book but wanted to digest it before writing a review.First off, a big thank you to Donna Everhart for having a giveaway that I was lucky to win.This is not a book I would normally pick up and I was excited to meet a new author.What was most amazing about this book was the way it’s written. The words and how they are spelled makes me “hear” the accent and the expressions the way they would have been spoken, old fashioned and somewhat uneducated. Very effective!The story is sad but also uplifting. The struggles follow one after the other and you can feel the sadness and frustration of the family. You can also feel the bonds and the dedication of a family. At times I found the story to be somewhat slow and wanted more excitement and surprises. My wishes were answered a couple of times. This is a book for anyone who loves historical fiction, the South, and stories with strong family bonds.On sale 12-26-2017#donnaeverhart
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  • Ethel
    January 1, 1970
    Set in the Appalachian Mountains in 1940, we find the Stamper family. Times are hard, but soon enough they will be even more difficult. Wallis Ann Stamper, 14 years old, takes full responsibility of her older sister Laci who was born mute and is what the doctor called a "savant." Not able to express herself verbally, she does so through music, having the ability to listen to a song or piece of music and then playing it on her fiddle, or whatever instrument is available. Their home destroyed afte Set in the Appalachian Mountains in 1940, we find the Stamper family. Times are hard, but soon enough they will be even more difficult. Wallis Ann Stamper, 14 years old, takes full responsibility of her older sister Laci who was born mute and is what the doctor called a "savant." Not able to express herself verbally, she does so through music, having the ability to listen to a song or piece of music and then playing it on her fiddle, or whatever instrument is available. Their home destroyed after a horrific storm and waters breaking free from a damn, the Stampers have no choice but to leave. There is tragedy as they lose their youngest child, a little boy of three. Leaving behind the only home Wallis Ann knew and loved, the family travel thru country roads and do what they can to earn some money. They are a singing group, singing in small towns to earn a few coins. Eventually they come upon a Traveling Show and luckily get hired. But it is Wallis Ann who looks after her sister, who has the weight of that responsibility on her young shoulders. She is strong, resilient and helps take the lead in bringing the family together. Yet there is a vulnerability about her, in spite of that strength..I was so emotionally invested in this story of hardship, family love and above all what it takes to keep the faith. This story held me from the first page through to the last. I could almost see the family, hear them talking watching them from afar. We watch as Wallis Ann matures, we listen as we hear the family's conversation and learn from their wisdom. With each page, with each set back, we will them to survive, we root for them and cheer them on! This is the first story written by Donna Everhart I have read and I only hope there will be more. I know I will read this book again and I have to believe it will be one of the best books out in 2018. Thanks to NetGalley for the privilege of reading this novel in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Karen Trosterud
    January 1, 1970
    I adored this book!! My heart hurt for what this family went through.. these characters will stay with me for a long time!!
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