Four of five stars
Sarah Ivorie Walker is 30 years old and single, which is a shame in 1950 rural Tennessee. Ivorie, as she’s known, stayed home with her elderly parents, taking care of them, and now that her mother has passed on, she’s all alone out there on her little homestead. But she has her garden, and her milk cow, and her job at the local public school to keep her busy. One fine summer day, she notices one of her tomato vines is broken, and something’s been in the peas and green beans. Some durn critter is messing up her vegetable patch. She’s determined to trap it. Sure enough, she does: the critter is a little boy. A speechless, neglected, and severely abused little boy who’s been sneaking down out of the hills at night to eat out of her garden. Ivorie decides to take him in and raise him herself. And suddenly, she’s not only a spinster, but a scandal.
Donna VanLiere tells us the story in alternate chapters, first through Ivorie’s eyes, and then through the eyes of our nameless boy. And it’s a sweet story, but not sentimental. Ivorie’s no nonsense approach to all things permits no truck with sentimentality. Still, that isn’t to say a reader won’t shed a tear or two, especially with the closing paragraphs. A lovely lovely book, perfect to read on a summer’s day, while sitting on the front porch drinking iced tea, watching the neighborhood children play in the yard, and counting one’s blessings.
Many thanks to Goodreads First Reads Program for the opportunity to read this book.