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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.
©2006 Lee Smith; (P)2006 Recorded Books LLC
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Critic Reviews

"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

By Mary on 03-20-07

engrossing

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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5 of 5 people found this review helpful


By B. Steele on 05-03-08

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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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Rebecca on 07-11-13

This Book Is Just Superb You Have To Listen

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend this book to anyone as it is a pure joy to listen to

What was one of the most memorable moments of On Agate Hill?

The strength and the Joy of Molly despite all the hardship and sadness she endured

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

The sheer perfection

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

It was hard to stop listening but I needed to savour it in chunks

Any additional comments?

This book is about dealing with deep deep grief and doing more than surviving. It is so very well written. It is in my top ten of best books

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