A small town in rural Kentucky in 1973 is stuck in the past. Controlled by superstition and family feuds, the Joslins and Blairs have been fighting for as long as anyone can remember. Years ago, young Fancy Joslin was having a baby and Turner Blair was the father. She hid in a cave waiting for Turner, so they could run away and start over. But by the time he got there, Fancy was dead and the baby was gone. Before dying, Fancy gave the newborn to Anne Fane, the town "witch", and made her promise to take the child and raise her. Then came the tragedy at Pulpit Rock.
Now years later, Catherine Fane comes home. Raised as Anne's granddaughter, it wasn't until the old woman was dying that Catherine learned the truth of her early life. She was Fancy and Turner's baby and she was there the night so many lost their lives. No one in the town wants to help the witch's granddaughter. Most don't even want her to stay in town. The only person willing to help her is Sheriff Luke DePriest.
Catherine is stronger than the hate around her. She is determined to learn the truth about the beginning of her life, but is unwilling to tell anyone in this horrible town the truth about who she is. Now Luke finds himself having to protect her from those whose scare tactics could kill her.
In a town that feels frighteningly real, Sharon Sala, writing as Dinah McCall, masterfully weaves a tale that seems unbelievable at first glance, but eventually convinces readers that it is probably truly occurring in some small U.S. town today. Emotional and heart-wrenching, this is a great read. (May, 384 pp., $6.50)