I have to say that I loved this book. The characters were well-developed, the story was riveting, and the atmosphere of 1936 Appalachia were perfect. The story is prefaced by an old-time “game” called the Dumb Supper which supposedly pointed a girl to her husband. Needless to say, the supper doesn’t work out quite right, and a “curse” may or may not be following one of the participants.
Ellie Robbins, a typical married women with two children finds herself a young widow with no means of support. Instead of existing in extreme poverty, she decides she will request the county to let her finish out her husband’s term as Sheriff. Surprisingly, she is allowed to do so. The novel chronicles her personal development as she conquers this unfamiliar role. During her stint as Sheriff, Ellie discovers facts about her husband that she was unaware of, the typical small town lawlessness, and finally the condemned prisoner that she has to put to death.
I loved how much Ellie grew into her role as Sheriff and how she was able to become both father and mother to her two young boys. However, that being said, the last few pages were the best. I’ll leave that cryptic sentence for you to figure out when you read the book. Well done, McCrumb!