In tones as warm and rich as the sun shinging on his Appalachian home, Larkin Stanton sings the country ballads of his heritage. Even before he could talk, Larkin would hum along with his Granny as she warbled. And though orphaned at birth, Larkin was never alone born as he was into the clannish, protective Scottish community of the North Carolina mountains in the 1840s and placed under the care of his silver-tongued cousin Arty.
As he grows, Larkin feeds on the subtleties of singing. When he goes head-to-head with his cousin Hackley, their ballad contests produce songs that bring a lump to the throat. And as the boys mature, their competition spreads to the wooing of Mary, the prettiest girl around. But shortly after Hackley wins her hand, he must fight in the Civil War. Left behind, Larkin finds himself inexorably drawn to the woman he has always loved. And what he does next will live on in the mournful ballads of his hills forever.
“As passionate and eventful as an Irish ballad.”
–The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“I laughed, I cried. I felt everything I remember feeling as a child.”
“Sheila Kay Adams can write the bark off a tree. . . . [Her] intimacy with mountain culture ranks with that of Lee Smith.”
–The Roanoke Times
“Deeply satisfying storytelling propelled by the desires of full-bodied, prickly characters set against a landscape rendered in all its beauty and harshness.”
“Adams can make you laugh. And she can make you clear your throat and wipe at the corners of your eyes from emotion. This is no small thing. She has the gift.”
–Chattanooga Times Free Press