Writing this novel is what pulled Lee Smith out of her depression following the death of her son, Josh. The protagonist is Molly Patree, a white girl who, at the age of thirteen, in 1872, in a small eastern North Carolina town, begins to write a diary from her plantation home. Her years at Gatewood Academy are told in the diaries of her headmistress and her teacher, and then she resumes her own story as she becomes a teacher in Western North Carolina where she is accused of murdering her husband. For more on author, Lee Smith, see my write-ups of her other books. This is Lee Smith's only work of historical fiction and also unique in that it incorporated some magical realism.
Chapel Hill, North Carolina: Algonquin Books, the first paperback edition, 2007, of a 2006 release. 384 pages with a "Short Note from the Author," "A Reading and Discussion Guide," and " A Conversation with the Author."