“Ripe with surprising twists and heart-breakingly real characters . . . a remarkable and complex look at race and forgiveness in small-town America.” —Michelle Richmond, New York Times–bestselling author
In Two Rivers, Vermont, Harper Montgomery is living a life overshadowed by grief and guilt. Since the death of his wife Betsy, Harper has narrowed his world to working at the local railroad and raising his daughter Shelly the best way he knows how. Still wracked with sorrow over the loss of his life-long love and plagued by his role in a brutal, long-ago crime, he wants only to make amends for his past mistakes.
Then one fall day, a train derails in Two Rivers, and amid the wreckage Harper finds an unexpected chance for atonement. One of the survivors, a pregnant fifteen-year-old girl with mismatched eyes and skin the color of blackberries, needs a place to stay. Though filled with misgivings, Harper offers to take Maggie in. But it isn’t long before he begins to suspect that Maggie’s appearance in Two Rivers is not the simple case of happenstance it first appeared to be.
“A stark, haunting story of redemption and salvation . . . the story of a man who learns the true meaning of family.” —Garth Stein, New York Times–bestselling author
“A dark and lovely elegy, filled with heartbreak that turns itself into hope and forgiveness. I felt so moved by this luminous novel.” —Luanne Rice, New York Times–bestselling author
“Greenwood is a writer of subtle strength, evoking small-town life beautifully while spreading out the map of Harper’s life, finding light in the darkest of stories.” —Publishers Weekly
In this evocative novel of redemption, Greenwood (Undressing the Moon) finds humanity and redemption in the life of a smalltown widower and his legacy of guilt. In 1980, 12 years after his involvement in the murder of a black man, railroad worker Harper Montgomery is still living under a cloud of guilt. Alternating between past and present, Harper's narrative reveals bit by bit the circumstances of the crime, as well as the long-devoted lover Harper was, and the caring father he's become. Harper's narrative makes a mystery of much: we know he participated in the murder, but not why. We know his wife died, but not how. Already struggling to raise his daughter, Shelly, further questions surround his decision to take in pregnant teen Maggie. As the past catches up the present, however, Harper's grave fears give way to unexpected and poignant developments. Greenwood is a writer of subtle strength, evoking smalltown life beautifully while spreading out the map of Harper's life, finding light in the darkest of stories.
A good read, rich storytelling about redemption.