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Where the Crawdads Sing meets The Four Winds as award-winning author Donna Everhart immerses readers in a unique setting—a turpentine camp buried deep in the vast pine forests of Georgia during the Great Depression—for a captivating story of friendship, survival, and three vagabonds' intersecting lives…
During the Great Depression, wretched labor camps crop up in remote areas of the expansive pine forests throughout the American South. Destitute workers live and toil under terrible conditions to harvest pine gum, hacking into tree trunks, drawing out the sticky sap that gives the Tar Heel State its nickname, and hauling it to stills to be refined into turpentine. Trapped in these isolated locations, workers are entirely dependent on the often greedy, abusive camp owners who provide food and housing at grossly inflated prices. Subsistence living means racking huge debts they are forced to work off, creating an endless cycle of labor and debt. But for the most desperate among America’s vast unemployed, these camps are often the last and only option.
This much is true for three individuals whose lives intersect in the deep woods of Georgia at the Swallow Hill turpentine camp in 1932. For Rae Lynn Cobb, a young woman disguised as a man, Swallow Hill offers distance and anonymity from those who would wrongly imprison her for killing her kind though careless husband. For a charming bachelor named Del Reese, it’s a place where backbreaking work might drown out memories of a recent trauma that’s shaken him to his core.
But Swallow Hill is no easy haven. The squalid camp is ruled by a sadistic boss named Crow and the greedy commissary owner Otis Riddle, a man who takes out his frustrations on his browbeaten wife, Cornelia. Del and “Ray Cobb” are physically and emotionally tested as they struggle to survive harsh, brutal conditions under the ever watchful, narrow-minded Crow. As Rae Lynn forges a deeper friendship with both Del and Cornelia, she begins to envision a path out of the camp. But she will have to come to terms with her past, with all its pain and beauty, before she can open herself to a new life and seize the chance to begin again…
About the Author
Donna Everhart is the USA Today bestselling author of Southern fiction with authenticity and grit, including The Saints of Swallow Hill, the Indie Next List selection The Education of Dixie Dupree, The Forgiving Kind, The Moonshiner's Daughter, and the Southeastern Library Association Award-winning novel, The Road to Bittersweet. Born and raised in Raleigh, she has lived close to her hometown for much of her life and now resides with her husband just an hour away in Dunn, North Carolina. Visit Donna Everhart online at DonnaEverhart.com.
Praise for Donna Everhart's Southern Fiction
"Rousing...movingly explores Jessie's struggle with her eating disorder, viscerally describing her twin desires for nourishment and purging in relation to a deep need to define herself...Everhart's story of self-discovery, rife with colorful characters and a satisfying twist, will thrill readers." --Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW for The Moonshiner's Daughter
"This riveting novel set in the 1960s will have readers, especially those who enjoy Kaye Gibbons and Anna Jean Mayhew, captivated from the first page." --Booklist, STARRED REVIEW for The Moonshiner's Daughter
"Highly engaging and fast-paced with well-drawn out characters...the glimpse into this landscape and the moonshining underground is equal parts eye-opening and fascinating. Everhart handles Jessie's eating disorder with grace and compassion. The book also explores family loyalty and legacy. There's a lot to digest, and all of it makes for a compelling reading experience." --The Historical Novels Review on The Moonshiner's Daughter
"Reminiscent of the novels of Lee Smith, Kaye Gibbons, and Sandra Dallas, Everhart builds a firm sense of place, portraying the tiredness and hope of a dry southern summer and voicing strong southern women." --Booklist on The Forgiving Kind
"Set in 1950s North Carolina, this touching and fearless novel is a coming-of-age story about a young heroine determined to survive and pursue justice out of love for her family." --She Reads on The Forgiving Kind
"This story of survival and perseverance is heartbreaking and hard, but the ways the characters in the book choose family and hope lead them on paths they would never expect. Laci brings a bright spot to the family when she uses her fiddle to express her deeper thoughts and feelings while adding a magical component to the family's singing group, The Stampers...Everhart creates a signature style by writing in the voice of the main character, a young Southern girl, telling the story from her perspective. Her voice remains true throughout the novel, successfully engaging the reader." --The Missourian on The Road to Bittersweet
"Everhart is a good storyteller and makes her characters and their experiences come alive." --Booklist on The Road to Bittersweet
"An adventure story and coming-of-age story wrapped into one satisfying package... Donna Everhart skillfully evokes a harsh landscape and harsh times, squarely placing the reader in Appalachia right along with the family. Wallis Ann's complicated relationship with her sister is well explored and serves as a catalyst for her growth into a mature young woman." --Historical Novels Review on The Road to Bittersweet
"With gravitas and heart...Donna Everhart does a deft job of writing about innocence lost." --Business Insider, Insider Pick for The Education of Dixie Dupree
"This is a dark, haunting book that will linger with you for days, but despite the heaviness of the book, Dixie is a witty, charismatic burst of energy and sunshine who readers will want to rescue themselves. A remarkable story of the triumph of will, and a great coming-of-age novel." --Historical Novels Review on The Education of Dixie Dupree
"[A] harrowing coming-of-age novel set in Alabama...Readers will be drawn to Dixie, who is full of spunk and grit." --Booklist on The Education of Dixie Dupree
“Please open your heart to Dixie Dupree. With unflinching honesty and a voice that rings with authenticity, she survives the unthinkable. Her story celebrates the resiliency of the human spirit and the triumph of the imagination. An important novel, beautifully written, this is a story to cherish.” -- Susan Wiggs, #1 New York Times bestselling author on The Education of Dixie Dupree
“Young Dixie Dupree is an indomitable spirit in this coming-of-age novel that is a heartbreaking and honest witness to the resilience of human nature and the fighting spirit and courage residing in all of us.” -- The Huffington Post on The Education of Dixie Dupree
“In a powerful coming‑of‑age story that pitches southern charm against dark family secrets, the voice of 11‑year‑old Dixie Dupree captivates from the first page to the last.” -- Barbara Claypole White, bestselling author of The Perfect Son on The Education of Dixie Dupree