By Donna Everhart
A Gut-Wrenching Depression-Era Historical Fiction Drama
Rae Lynn Cobb and her older husband, Warren, run a small turpentine farm in North Carolina. The work is challenging, and when Warren is hurt, Rae Lynn performs a desperate act of mercy. To escape a no-win situation, she disguises herself as a man and heads to the isolated Swallow Hill turpentine camp outside Valdosta, Georgia. The work is even more arduous than expected. There she makes friends with Del Reese, who is also escaping an untenable situation and who tries his best to help Rae Lynn. Despite working tirelessly, Rae Lynn cannot meet quotas, and her vile boss targets her. After a particularly harsh punishment, Cornelia, wife of the heartless commissary owner, offers assistance and friendship.
Rae Lynn, Cornelia, and Del each have different reasons for wanting to leave Swallow Hill. But before they can move forward, they must all come to terms with their past.
The Saints of Swallow Hill is a gut-wrenching depression-era historical fiction novel set in the pine forests of Georgia and North Carolina. Times are hard, and the writing is descriptive and atmospheric. It awakens your senses to the hardships and difficulties the characters face, as well as the beauty of the pine forest as the breeze, blows the needles of the longleaf pine trees.
Author Donna Everhart has woven an intriguing Southern tale complete with hard times, evil, and racism. Several characters in the book are despicable. But all three of the notable characters, Rae Lynn, Del, and Cornelia, show the strength, courage, and determination that carries the novel.
Everhart describes her books as Southern novels with authenticity and grit. This book certainly fits that description. She has written four additional novels, most recently including The Moonshiner's Daughter and The Forgiving Kind.
Thanks to Netgalley for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Publisher Kensington Books
Published January 25, 2022