I love everything about this book: the cover, the title and the story! If that isn’t wonderful enough, the fact that it is based on a true story is icing on the cake! Many of the characters in the book were real people! Cora Wilson Stewart fought tirelessly for the education of the Appalachian children and adults. She didn’t just campaign but took actions to further her dream. She herself grew up in the hills of Kentucky where poverty and lack of educational opportunity was the norm. How well she understood their plight. Her accomplishments are incredible.
In this fictional story, Cora’s, wealthy and privileged younger cousin is sent by her father to assist her. Lucy has the impression that she is coming as a stenographer. Cora shatters that preconceived idea very quickly. In a few days Lucy is on horseback (she has never ridden a horse) and being sent up into the woods and hills of the Kentucky Hollows to see people she has not clue where they live! She is definitely put out of her comfort zone. Her job is to take write the letters they want to send family and loved ones. As you can imagine she is overwhelmed.
Severe poverty, lack of hygiene, not to mention countless traditions and superstitions of the people is a bit of a culture shock at first. She grows to realize the vast gulf between the life she has taken for granted and theirs. Very quickly Lucy develops a love the people and hurt for their suffering. She blossoms into quite activist for those she serves.
Appalachia and its people have always held a fascination for me. The author’s descriptiveness of the people, their environment, and their customs added to my interest. The characters are captivating. Wyatt and Angie were two of my favorites. The book is much deeper than just this historical time and the wonderful people. There are many surprises, one especially about a tragedy in Lucy’s past. A beautifully written book you don’t want to miss reading!
I received this book from Revell in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated are my own.