Born and raised in Baines Creek, high in the thin air of the Appalachian Mountains, Sadie Blue has been beaten by her husband, Roy Tupkin, for the last time.
She’s been married only 15 days, but that's long enough to realize that Roy is hardly the charmer she thought he was and that she and the baby she has on the way deserve far better than the likes of him. While Sadie carefully considers how to free herself from Roy, a new teacher arrives in town, called by Preacher Eli Perkins. Dismissed from her previous post at a posh girls’ boarding school in North Carolina, Kate Shaw is drawn to the isolation and beauty Baines Creek offers in abundance, which is lucky given the small community’s staggering impoverishment, despite a thriving moonshine trade. Over 6 feet tall, with severely cropped graying hair, 51-year-old Kate is not at all what Baines Creek expected, but within days she’s gathered a cohort of students who thrive under her nurturing care and befriended Sadie, who yearns to learn how to read; Eli, who finds himself drawn to Kate’s intellect despite her agnosticism; and Birdie, a woman whose understanding of nature protects Kate from local ne’er-do-wells. Yet the women’s friendship cannot stop Roy from battering Sadie, and one day he goes too far, endangering the baby. Meanwhile, Darlene, a young woman who danced at the local strip club, has gone missing, and she seems to have had ties to Roy and Sadie. In this, her debut novel, Weiss catches and weaves together compelling voices from the haunted and haunting interstices of America. Each chapter is told from a different character's perspective, and they all add new pieces to the puzzle of Roy’s dark soul, Sadie’s bittersweet hope, and Darlene’s mysterious disappearance.
Part gothic, part romance, part heartbreaking Loretta Lynn ballad—Weiss’ tale is a beguiling, compelling read.