St. Martin’s press|july 3, 2012|hardcover|ISBN: 978-0-312-36777-0
From the new York times bestselling author comes a poignant, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting novel about an unlikely path to motherhood, and of two lost souls healing each other in 1950 Tennessee, a time and place that straddles the past and present.
Ivorie walker is considered an old maid by the town (although she’s only in her early thirties) and she takes that label with good humor and a grain of salt. Ever since her parents passed away, she has hidden her loneliness behind a fierce independence and a claim of not needing anyone. But her mother’s death hit her harder than anyone suspects and ivorie wonders if she will be alone forever. When she realized that someone has been stealing vegetables from her garden - a feral, dirty-faced boy who disappears into the hills – something about him haunts ivorie. She can’t imagine what would make him desperate enough to steal and eat from her garden. But what she truly can’t imagine is what the boy faces, each day and night, in the filthy lean-to hut miles up in the hills. Who is he? How did he come to live in the hills? Where did he come from? And, more importantly, can she save him? As ivories steps out of her comfort zone to uncover answers, she unleashes a firestorm in the town – a community that would rather let secrets stay secret.
Sarah ivorie walker is in her thirties, is unmarried and just suffered the loss of both of her parents. Even those closest to her don’t realize just hard her mother’s death has hit her. But ivorie puddles along, tending her garden, milking her cow and driving into town to visit her brother’s story for groceries.
One day she sees a dirty, emaciated, little boy stealing vegetables from her garden and wonders who he is? Each day she watches for him to see where he goes and realizes he lives up in the hills. Ivories thought of those who had lived up there had long ago gone but she quickly realized that wasn’t the case. Ivorie could tell by the way the boy looked that he wasn’t well cared for and decided to do something about it. I won’t tell you how she got him but once she did, she and this young boy began to build a bond like no other.
He couldn’t talk and every day ivorie would throw names out to him: “Donald, david, frank, buzz,” but the young boy only shook his head no. She kept trying when one day they were out she waved to her old friend Pete and yelled “Hi Pete!” the young boy began tapping her leg in excitement and making the sound he always made from the back of his throat trying to tell her something. It suddenly dawned on Ivorie his name was Peter. Ivorie and Peter were tickled pink to finally learn this information.
As time goes on, the people of the town aren’t happy with ivorie’s decision to bring this young boy into her home to raise as her own son and they don’t mince words in telling her that. One night the lights in her house went out while Peter was sleeping and ivorie walked to the back of the house to the fuse panel to check the fuses when she was attacked from behind in the dark, her face slammed up against the wall and only a male voice saying: “Get rid of the boy!” ivorie’s face was terribly beaten-up, with a cut under her eye and bruises everywhere and a split lip. She ran to her bathroom and cried. The following morning she didn’t want to frighten peter so she told him she tripped and fell against the swings.
As the story progress, ivorie finally gets enough money so peter can have the surgery that will finally allow him to talk after 8 years! The bond that ivorie and peter develop is like none other. I laughed, I cried, I sympathized, I empathized, and I cried some more. There were many sad and dark moments in this novel but just as many happy moments that were true cause for the celebrations they had.
I would highly recommend this book to everyone!! I won’t forget ivorie and peter for a while.