On the surface, Micah (Mike) Winship has a satisfying, exciting life. She is recognized as a competent free-lance journalist, she has a bright eleven-year-old daughter, she lives in a sunny apartment in New York City’s West Village, and she maintains an undemanding relationship with a successful writer. When a series of unexpected events render her unemployed and homeless, however, her carefully constructed New York existence falls apart. Her supports gone, Mike discovers that she is a frightened and lonely woman, whose repressed memories of a traumatic childhood suddenly surface and demand attention.
In the midst of her troubles, Mike is informed by her older sister DeeDee that their father is dying of cancer, and she returns to Lytton, Georgia, to confront the childhood and hometown life she left abruptly in 1963, twenty years before. There she finds a bitter and bigoted father, a simpering and dutiful DeeDee, DeeDee’s loutish husband, Duck, and Bayard Sewell, the man she was engaged to marry before she left Lytton so suddenly. She is quickly drawn into a controversy surrounding the homeplace, the land and house passed down through generations of her father’s family, which is now targeted for destruction because of plans to cut a road across the property. Through a traumatic turn of events, Mike comes to terms with her past, her father, Bayard Sewell, and her own homeplace.
This moving novel contains a wonderful story that should appeal to most fiction readers. While at times the characters and events are somewhat unbelievable, this does not detract from a book that will make excellent light summer reading.