A woman challenges the constraints of life in Prohibition-era Appalachia in this sweeping and richly rewarding novel about endurance, survival, and redemption.
The McKenzie women, empowered with a formidable history rooted in the foothills of Appalachia, have passed down their folk-healing wisdom through generations. Rosalee, the last living headstrong daughter in Granny McKenzie’s line, soaked up everything she could about the secrets of the forest before a series of tragedies left her alone, without the protection of the women who came before her. The close-knit ties of Rosalee’s childhood are long gone. Now, at her eastern Kentucky farm, she bears a marriage with a volatile bootlegger. She struggles with the demands of motherhood. And her independence is relegated to its “proper place”: under the thumb of men. Her optimism dimming, Rosalee finds solace in the Kentucky woods, a space that holds secret powers of protection from a life Rosalee can no longer control. To the graves of her female ancestors, beside the waters of an enchanting spring, Rosalee returns time and again to consider her future―and discovers a mysterious connection to her past. As Rosalee wrestles with her isolation, with being a wife in an increasingly dangerous marriage, and with being a woman of her time, she must draw on her strength and resilience to survive―and to protect―on her own terms.