Cahas Mountain by Linda Kay Simmons
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Simmons introduces Rhodessa Rose, a child born into poverty in Appalachia before WWII. Living on a family farm on Cahas Mountain, Rhodessa Rose moves to the rhythm of the mountain's spirit. She feels safe and home only when she's on her beloved mountain.
Enter a dashing moonshine operator, older than she, with few if any scruples. Willard Grimes courts Rhodessa Rose and marries her. She wants life with this man who drives a flashy car to be full of love and happiness. Instead, he's more interested in running moonshine than in running a house. Willard introduces Rhodessa Rose to a criminal element which puts her life in danger.
Willard is drafted, leaving Rhodessa Rose alone with his family. She nurses her two sisters and mother during a tuberculosis epidemic.
To say more would be to give spoilers.
Simmons comes from the oral story-telling tradition. In the cadence of her language, you hear echoes of tales spun around pot-bellied stoves. The voice is both fresh and familiar.
The book suffers from needing to be better formatted and edited. If you can overlook these two problems, you'll find an enjoyable read.