PURE HEART by Bret Witter


A Spirited Tale of Grace, Grit, and Whiskey
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The first woman ever licensed to distill hard liquor in North Carolina uncorks an emotionally charged memoir about traversing family heartache to become the “moonshine mama” of the South.

In the art of making moonshine, “pure heart” refers to the elusive part of the distillation process when fermenting corn mash begins to yield the best part of “platinum whisky.” It also describes the fierce and unwavering love that Ball, founder and owner of Asheville Distilling Company, demonstrates caring for her wheelchair-bound sons, Marshall and Coulton. Born with severe health issues and prone to near-constant respiratory infections, the boys weren’t expected to live into their teen years. Ball refused to let that happen, and she also found a way to resurrect the entrepreneurial spirit her beloved father instilled in her when she was a girl running her own horse shows in Texas. Determined to give her kids a better chance far away from those dusty confines, however, Ball and her devoted husband, Charlie, packed up the family and moved to Asheville. There, the author, who wrote the book with the assistance of veteran co-author Witter, realized that she and moonshine were a perfect match. Invoking the salesmanship learned at her father’s knee, she valiantly began to construct her new company making her own authentic brew. The business soured fast, however, when Charlie’s real estate ventures tanked, and what began as the author’s quest for identity and self-fulfillment quickly became a desperate mission to save her family from dissolution and ruin. “Even now,” she writes, “I find my resentment bubbling up, not for the bad investment—that was the product of the times—but because my husband didn’t listen [to her business advice].” Teetering between success and failure, Ball was able to create a thriving business through sheer hard work and good sense.

A heart-stirring life story.

Pub Date: Feb. 7th, 2017
ISBN: 978-0-06-245897-1
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2016


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