June McAllister is the wife of the local mill owner and undisputed first lady in town. Read more...
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June McAllister is the wife of the local mill owner and undisputed first lady in town. But the Snow family, a group of itinerant ne'er-do-wells who live on a decrepit and cursed property, have brought her--and the town--nothing but grief.
June will do anything to cover up a dark secret she discovers after the crash, one that threatens to upend her picture-perfect life, even if it means driving the Snow family out of town. But she has never gone up against a force as fierce as the young Mercy Snow. Mercy is determined to protect her rebellious brother, whom the town blames for the accident, despite his innocence. And she has a secret of her own. When an old skeleton is discovered not far from the crash, it beckons Mercy to solve a mystery buried deep within the town's past.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-09-30
- Reviewer: Staff
New York Times bestselling author Baker (The Little Giant of Aberdeen County) shines once again in her third novel, like its predecessors set in smalltown America. This time, the scene is Titan Falls, N.H., in the mid-1990s—a paper mill town on the brink of economic collapse. Nineteen-year-old Mercy Snow has returned to her family’s plot of land in Titan Falls with her older brother, Zeke, and younger sister, Hannah. The Snow siblings have nothing but a rusted-out RV and a reputation for trouble that they owe to their parents and grandparents. One night, a bus returning from a high school trip is run off the road, killing a local girl. Locals blame Zeke, whose crashed car was found not far from the bus. But Mercy knows it wasn’t Zeke’s fault and is determined to clear her brother’s name. The McAllisters, who own the paper mill and therefore run the town, are just as determined to stop Mercy before her quest uncovers the family’s long-buried secrets. Baker slowly but confidently unravels a gripping tale of love, justice, and redemption, set in a town where all three seem just a little out of reach. Agent: Dan Lazar, Writers House. (Jan.)
Shattered lies after the crash
Tiffany Baker, whose debut, The Little Giant of Aberdeen County, was a bestseller, proves with her third book that she is a novelist with staying power. Mercy Snow is the story of two disparate families in a small New Hampshire town, irrevocably linked because of a murky history and a present-day tragedy.
In the town of Titan Falls, the citizens and its one lingering industry, the paper mill, are on the brink of financial ruin. The McAllister family has owned the mill for several generations. June McAllister, wife of the mill owner and undisputed first lady in her community, lives her life as one would expect: head of the sewing circle, best dressed, front row in church every Sunday.
Young Mercy Snow has returned to the family homestead with her rebellious brother, Zeke, and younger sister, Hannah. The siblings are gypsies with just a rusty RV and a few dollar bills to their name when they arrive to lay claim to their family’s land, and Baker’s most powerful prose comes in her depictions of the Snows’ poverty. They are literally starving, and it seems as if the townspeople are as unforgiving as the winter they are suffering through.
One night, a bus returning from a high school field trip is run off the road by a reckless driver, killing a local girl. The authorities immediately blame Zeke, but Mercy knows that her brother is innocent and is determined to clear him of the accusation. June, on the other hand, is resolute in her mission to blame the girl’s death on Zeke.
In June, Baker has created a complex character: doting mother, dutiful wife who possesses a cold heart and an animalistic need to protect her family at any cost. However, June has never met a force as implacable as Mercy. The two are equally determined to protect their loved ones, but their separate quests for truth also open wounds and long-buried secrets from the past.
Baker is an expert in placing the reader into the souls of her characters. Readers will be eager to see what’s next from this talented writer.