On Agate Hill

  • by Lee Smith
  • Narrated by Kate Forbes, Danielle Ferland, Katie Firth
  • 13 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.


What the Critics Say

"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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


I could not put this down, to my husband's regret. Having never read Lee Smith before I went into this with hesitation. Her vehicle of story telling (documents) was ingenious. I found this to be a wonderful story with great character voices reading the material. And the music, all placed in appropriate areas, to be an welcomed and natural addition to the storyline.
Well Done Ms Smith.
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- Mary

New Southern classic

Move over Flannery O'Connor and William Faulkner, there's a new girl on the block. Beautifully conceived and written as a series of documents (diaries, letters, legal documents, etc.), the novel is here wonderfully recreated by a diverse cast of voices. You have to get used to the idea that the book will flow from place to place, rather like most people's lives, rather than setting up a singular plot and resolving it, and you will have to tolerate a n aggravating excess of infant mortality, but if you can get past those hazards you'll find a wonderful portrait of a certain time and place, with rich characters and powerful emotions. Ought to be in college literature classes, and on teenage girls' nightstands, both.
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- B. Steele

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-14-2007
  • Publisher: Recorded Books