Written in the gritty voice of the Great Depression, this historical fiction draws the reader into the difficult lives of three characters in North Carolina. All three are at the Swallow Hill turpentine camp, and while their backgrounds and stories are different, their lives intersect, and we see friendships and bonds form.
I really enjoyed this story. The atmosphere of the story was built with amazing detail, creating a world that I completely immersed myself in. Then add in the beautifully created characters, and it’s a story you can’t put down! I really enjoyed the little details that the author adds throughout the story. The characters became real people, and the location became a real place. I learned a lot about turpentining too!
I would definitely recommend this to any readers that enjoy historical fiction with character-driven stories!
Where to Find This Book:
Where the Crawdads Sing meets The Four Winds as award-winning author Donna Everhart’s latest novel immerses readers in its unique setting—the turpentine camps and pine forests of the American South during the Great Depression—for a captivating story of friendship, survival, and three vagabonds’ intersecting lives.
It takes courage to save yourself…
In the dense pine forests of North Carolina, turpentiners labor, hacking into tree trunks to draw out the sticky sap that gives the Tar Heel State its nickname, and hauling the resin to stills to be refined. Among them is Rae Lynn Cobb and her husband, Warren, who run a small turpentine farm together.
Though the work is hard and often dangerous, Rae Lynn, who spent her childhood in an orphanage, is thankful for it—and for her kind if careless husband. When Warren falls victim to his own negligence, Rae Lynn undertakes a desperate act of mercy. To keep herself from jail, she disguises herself as a man named “Ray” and heads to the only place she can think of that might offer anonymity—a turpentine camp in Georgia named Swallow Hill.
Swallow Hill is no easy haven. The camp is isolated and squalid, and commissary owner Otis Riddle takes out his frustrations on his browbeaten wife, Cornelia. Although Rae Lynn works tirelessly, she becomes a target for Crow, the ever-watchful woods rider who checks each laborer’s tally. Delwood Reese, who’s come to Swallow Hill hoping for his own redemption, offers “Ray” a small measure of protection, and is determined to improve their conditions. 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.
Just the Facts:
The Saints of Swallow Hill by Donna Everhart
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Kensington Books
Pub Date: January 25, 2022
Donna Everhart is a USA Today bestselling author who writes stories of family hardship and troubled times in a bygone south. A native of North Carolina, she resides in her home state with her husband and their tiny heart stealing Yorkshire terrier, Mister.
I was provided a gifted copy of this book for free. I am leaving my honest review voluntarily.