When Angel sets fire to the trailer that was her home and escapes into the surrounding tobacco fields, her greatest hope is for a chance to tell the story to the person she believes is out there waiting for her. The few trinkets she takes with her are the remnants of her past that pack the punches of the hurt she’s endured. And while Angel is at the crux of our story, we also meet Hannah, the daughter of two missionaries. Her incredibly strict upbringing as a long-skirted “Holy Roller” doesn’t prepare her for her sixteenth summer on the Carolina coast, where suddenly all the rules she was taught fly in the face of the joy she discovers.
What is the relationship between these two people? It didn’t take long to figure it out, but I loved the mystery of discovering the intricacies of how it happened and how it would resolve itself in the end. There is so much deception, so many heartbreaks — everyone in this book is hurting. Usually that would make a book drag and depress me, but somehow, THIS one didn’t. Angel’s “trailer trash” upbringing and Hannah’s way of dealing with her choices made for such interesting reading — I believed it. I believed their pain and their different ways of suffering it. I ached for Angel and her tobacco field solace.
This book just flows, not always in a straight line — plots keep switching until finally everything converges — but I never felt lost in the shuffle. I let myself get carried away by the characters’ grief, hoping at some point that things would resolve. And even though I would’ve liked a tiny bit more at the end, I also see why it works perfectly. It’s been a good long time since I’ve read such a harsh story that was written with such grace.
Rated: Mild. A few mild expletives. Reference to sex, but it’s limited and no details are given. One short groping scene. The content is surprisingly clean given some of the situations in the book.