The Moonshiner’s Daughter

Donna Everhart. Kensington, $15.95 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-4967-1702-3
Everhart’s rousing fourth novel (after The Giving Kind) follows 16-year-old Jessie Sasser’s struggle to reckon with her family’s moonshining in 1960s North Carolina. Jessie blames her father, Easton, for her mother’s death in a distilling accident, which she vividly remembers witnessing when she was four, but Easton refuses to discuss it. Jessie’s sense of inferiority at school and around town pits her against Easton and her younger brother, Merritt, both of whom are proud of their outlaw identity. Her isolation and anger drive her into bulimia, while her sole friendship, with a classmate named Aubrey, turns sour after Aubrey takes a shine to Willie Murry, whose unscrupulous family runs a rival distillery. After Jessie confides to Aubrey about her plan to destroy her family’s operation, Aubrey warns Willie that his own family will receive the blame. Aubrey’s betrayal unleashes a chain of events that pushes Jessie into trying her hand at the stills. Everhart movingly explores Jessie’s struggle with her eating disorder, viscerally describing her twin desires for nourishment and purging in relation to a deep need to define herself: “It happened when there came this need to fill what was barren, satisfy a void that belonged not to regular hunger, but to something else.” Everhart’s story of self-discovery, rife with colorful characters and a satisfying twist, will thrill readers. (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 11/08/2019
Release date: 12/31/2019
Genre: Fiction
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