A rural Kentucky teenager comes of age in the summer of 1969 in this novel by the New York Times–bestselling author of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek.
Nameless, Kentucky, in 1969 is a hardscrabble community where jobs are few and poverty is a simple fact—just like the hot Appalachian breeze or the pests that can destroy a tobacco field. RubyLyn Bishop is luckier than some. Her God-fearing uncle, Gunnar, has a short fuse and high expectations, but he’s given her a good home ever since she was orphaned at the age of five. Yet now a month shy of her sixteenth birthday, RubyLyn itches for more.
Maybe it’s something to do with the paper fortunetellers RubyLyn has been making for townsfolk, each covered with beautifully wrought, prophetic drawings. Or perhaps it’s because of Rainey Ford, her black neighbor who works alongside her in the tobacco field and with whom she has a kinship—despite the disapproval of others.
RubyLyn’s predictions are just wishful thinking, not magic at all, but through them she’s imagining life as it could be, away from the prejudice and hardship that ripple through Nameless…
“A voice rich and authentic, steeped in the somber beauty that defines life in the South.”—David Joy, author of When These Mountains Burn
“Richardson’s brilliant writing made me feel as though I were transported back in time…and actually there witnessing this poignant heartfelt story.”—Charles Belfoure, New York Times–bestselling author of The Fallen Architect
“A reader always recognizes when the author has poured her soul into a body of work. [This] is a tender, beautifully written second novel.”—Ann Hite, author of the Black Mountain series
Richardson's (Liar's Bench) deft second novel paints a picture of the hard life and bright dreams of young RubyLyn Bishop in Nameless, Ky., during the summer of 1969. Fifteen-year-old RubyLyn was orphaned young and is now the charge of her uncle, Gunnar Royal, a man with a harsh and rigid moral code. Henny Stump, her best friend, is so poor that her family resorts to selling their new baby. Her other neighbors, Beau Crockett and his three boys, are trouble. The only bright spots in her life are her secret love of Rainey Ford, her uncle's field hand, the beautiful paper fortune tellers that she draws and folds, and her hope to win the $200 prize for her lush tobacco plants at the Kentucky State Fair. With the prize money, she plans to move to the big city of Louisville. Facing reality is never as easy as dreaming, but RubyLyn's will may prove stronger than the grasp of Nameless. Richardson skillfully develops RubyLyn's plight in this tale steeped in the tobacco hills of Kentucky.
As a resident of Appalachia I was fascinated by the story and the truthfulness in the words