Sproles takes readers to the Appalachian Mountains over a hundred years ago when myth and superstition held more sway than logic objective knowledge. Into this culture a girl was born with a wine-red birthmark on her cheek and neck. Many thought her a daughter of the devil and fearfully treated her as an outcast. How she survived is a brutal story framed by parental love.
I live far away from the Appalachian Mountains and this novel was a very interesting journey to another time and another place. Sproles has done a good job giving the flavor of religious belief and the condition of society of the day. I was appalled at how people were treated. But this was a time and place of small communities being cut off from each other. Mistrust and fear were common. Violence was a way of life.
We experience the struggle of a girl told all her life she was evil and dangerous and must remain hidden. But we also see the steady love of a parent break through toward rescue. The clash of violence and love does not make for a pretty story. It was hard for me to read of the continued mistreatment of the girl, even though love and forgiveness won out in the end.
I recommend this novel to those who would enjoy a journey into the Appalachian past. You'll be immersed in the culture of the time, be confronted with violence and anger, and be amazed at the saving grace of God.
You can read an excerpt here.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
Cindy K. Sproles is the author of devotions published in newspapers across the country and a teacher at Christian writers conferences. She and her family still live in the mountains of East Tennessee. You can find out more at http://www.cindysproles.com/.
Kregel Publications, 250 pages.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.