The willow tree on the front cover lured me into the book with a sense of calm – boy was I wrong! While the surface may be smooth, underneath in the heart of the story, there is a lot of agitation and turbulence happening. The author used marginalized characters who at first glance appear to be getting by the best way they can with their circumstances. Then through the evolution of the story, they unfold into fully formed people who are not what they appeared to be either to the reader or the other characters in the book.
It’s hard to use the word enjoyed with this story because at times it is a tough read in that the events happening are a retelling of dark aspects in history. However, because of the extensive research and weaving of actual historical occurrences, the book’s authenticity radiated for this reader.
I would highly suggest this book.
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Set in a world where women of the KKK betray their neighbors, where horrors of unscrupulous foundling homes come to light, and buried mysteries are not all that hidden. It’s Georgia 1921. Mute since birth, fifteen-year-old Willow Stewart has one task to complete—to leave her Appalachian homestead and find a traveling preacher and her brother, Briar. When a peddler kidnaps her, she escapes only to face an unjust arrest and penal servitude. The laws are not on her side. Or her brother’s.
Briar is serving time on a chain gang with four months left. When an immigrant boy asks him for help, Briar must decide if he should jeopardize his freedom to help the penniless boy.
Soon Willow and Briar become ensnared in a world of cruel secrets, savage truths, deceitful practices, and desperate predicaments.
This novel delves into the gut and sinew of fairness, probing often inexplicable questions, as old and persistent as the forest itself.