The protagonist, Emme McLean returns to her home town of Red River in Eastern Kentucky in 1999 after learning that her cousin, Kelly, is accused of the murder of her husband, Cy. Elements of traditional mountain lore – including old ballads, “the mountain gift,” and seemingly supernatural events - are introduced seamlessly and are integral, not incidental, to the story. “Like Light, Like Music captures the way the past haunts us and shapes our reality. With the help of their ancestors, the resilient McLean women are determined to prove the innocence of one of their own. The pulse of this lyrical novel beats: Believe women. Believe women. Believe women.” - Savannah Sipple. “Austin has written a highly original and captivating novel filled with the mountain music and lore she loves so much—haints, broonies, banshees, shades, and revenants share the stage with all the memorable real characters of Red River, Kentucky. Contemporary issues merge with a developing romance in this spellbinding story, truly a ballad itself.” - Lee Smith. The author, Lana K. W. Austin, teaches writing at the University of Alabama at Huntsville.
Morgantown: West Virginia University Press, 2020. 298 pages. Trade paperback.