In a well told tale about life in the Appalacian countryside in North Carolina somewhere around the 1950s or 1960s, the author paints a picture of the struggles of life.
Luce lives by herself in the old Lodge. She's totally self-sufficient living in the building which had been a summer home by a man made lake. Once the owner had died, Luce took it upon herself to stay on and act as caretaker.
When her sister is murdered, the state places her sister's two childern into Lucy's care. She felt that she didn't really have any choice. It was either that or have them separated and placed into adoption agencies.
Luce accepts the challange of caring for these tempermental, untalking twins. It makes the reader wonder how she can do this with no parental training, no financial or educational help and no support group.
In a scene that reminded me of Charles Frazier's "Cold Mountain," Luce takes the twins to her friend's home. When her friend places the children on her pony, the twins become normal little children again and utter their first words, the horses name, "Sally."
Bud is the children's father. He's a cold hearted killer. His lack of any trace of compassion and willingness to kill others with little prevocation reminded me of the excellent character Anton Chigurth from "No Country for Old Men."
Charles Frazier is a wonderful story teller and has given us a book with rich characters for whom the reader develops a great deal of empathy. It is a book that the reader can get lost in and reaffirms the author's place as one of the best literary writers working today.