The Whispering of the Willows by Tonya Blessing
Met the author and her book on the book fun chat and knew I wanted to read this book. It starts out with a large family that live in the holler in the Appalachian Mountains.
Girls are named after gems which I loved right from the start. Boys run the hog farm as their dad came back from the war wounded and in a wheelchair. The girls make sure he is bathed every day and they do the shaving along with planting seeds in the garden, tending to the outhouse and tending to the pigs and piglets.
Only the oldest who are going to leave after the 8th grade to be married do the cooking. The girls all sleep in the same bed cordoned off with an old curtain.
We have visited the Mountains and have been able to see the cabins of the old days in TN and in WVA areas for ourselves.
Love that the aunts work comes through as her love by using her hands to create.
Story is mainly about Emerald who is also in 8th grade and is growing up but her mother doesn't want her to leave as the twin girls will be married in the summer, Emerald to be married later.
They don't get to pick their spouses they only know they are to wed and to produce children and work on farms the rest of their lives.
Husbands grandfather ran a hog farm and I find it interesting to learn how the boys tend to them as we see hogs in their natural habitat and the historic villages we visit throughout the years.
Ernest singing hymns as he does his chores, at the top of his lungs, Lester mixed up with pastor's son making moonshine-what a busy family.
Emie goes through a personal tragedy and her parents want her to be gone, her brother Ernest helps her and she is able to live at her aunts. Others help her and she learns the truth later when one of the people invoked has to leave the area.
Love hearing the folk belief-like a wives tale or farmers almanac entry. Store follows each of the children but more on Emerald.
Twists and turns and God has his own plans for them. Love the hymns singing and how everybody practices. Such a strong and courageous bunch to endure all the hardships.
I was given the book from the author via Book Fun (The Book Club Network) and this is my honest review.