Award-winning, best-selling author Lee Smith is among the most authentic voices of the South and has been hailed as one of America's most accomplished authors. In this rich and bittersweet tale, she follows the shifting fortunes of a young North Carolina girl whose life is shattered by the Civil War.Orphaned when her father falls in battle, Molly Petree is taken in by Uncle Junius on his Agate Hill plantation. But the terminally ill Junius is manipulated into marriage by his housekeeper, Selena, who inherits Agate Hill upon his death. Neglected and abused under Selena's watch, Molly escapes to a better life with help from her father's closest battlefield companion, Simon Black. But as she grows into a refined, educated woman, Molly remains haunted by tragedy.
Told from the perspectives of several of its colorful characters, On Agate Hill is the literary equivalent of an heirloom quilt, and one of Smith's finest achievements.
"Smith brings to [her work] an ear for speech and voice that most other writers can only envy." (The New York Times Book Review)
"Set among the ashes of the Civil War, Lee Smith's new novel brings a dead world blazingly to life....Smith, who is a subtly intrepid and challenging storyteller, never allows her narrative to slip into kitsch, stereotype or melodrama." (Washington Post's Book World)
"An authentic American saga, bittersweet as an Appalachian ballad, peopled with wonderfully vivid characters, so brilliantly constructed we never even notice the quilt-like artfulness of its design. (Kirkus Reviews)
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New Southern classic
- B. Steele