“I don’t know how Mama knew Daddy was going to hurt us,” Minnie says. She yanked us out of the bed and over to the wall. The door flew open. There was a huge explosion! Daddy had fired his shotgun into our bed.”
Minnie leaves boarding school to spend the summer at The Big House, her cherished Grandpa’s home. She enjoys adventure, but she also learns of the dangers posed by the land and a river that can seduce the unwary. The arrival of Minnie’s great-grandmother provides her with a fearless female role model, as well as tales of the elderly woman’s antebellum past and how she survived the Civil War. She also learns of her Grandpa’s struggle to build a post-Civil War cotton and lumber empire in a wilderness of swamps, disease, and treacherous men willing to steal and murder.
Minnie’s valuable lessons: one must face one’s fears head-on, and one must never willingly become a victim. At the close of Summer young Minnie experiences devastating upheaval,but her innate courage allows her to face her fears . . . and to eventually triumph over them.
The story is poignant, heart-breaking, in turns, and empowering, transporting the reader into the heart and soul of a bygone era. A timeless story, it reflects the very best of the American character when confronting adversity.