I love the way the author goes back and forth between the centuries. This one of the "Ballad" series had a couple of quirky characters, along with the usual ones we've come to know. There's a lot happening here. I really like these books.
From Publishers Weekly
In 1779, Katie Wyler, 18, was captured by the Shawnee in North Carolina. The story of her escape and arduous journey home through hundreds of miles of Appalachian wilderness is the topic of ethno-historian Jeremy Cobb's thesis-and the thread which runs through the third of McCrumb's ballad novels (after The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter). As Cobb begins to retrace Katie's return journey, 63-year-old convicted murderer Hiram (Harm) Sorley escapes from a nearby prison. Suffering from Korsakoff's syndrome, he has no recent memory: old Harm is permanently stuck in the past. Hamelin, Tenn., police dispatcher Martha Ayers uses the opportunity to convince the sheriff to assign her as a deputy. One of her first duties is to calm a young mother who, angry at her inattentive husband, is threatening her baby with a butcher knife. Ayers and the sheriff must also warn Harm's ex-wife Rita that he has escaped. Acting as a kind of narrative conscience is a local deejay, a "carpetbagger from Connecticut," who sees Harm as a folk hero from another era. Deftly building suspense, McCrumb weaves these colorful elements into her satisfying conclusion as she continues to reward her readers' high expectations. Mystery Guild selection; author tour.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
My two-cents. This was the first Sharyn McCrumb book I've read, and now I've read 3. She is an excellent writer and I want to keep turning the pages. This book provided excellent distraction each night while we were in another state visiting my father-in-law in intensive care hospital. I've really enjoyed her detail to the beauty and culture of Appalachia. I recommend her books. Story plot has been detailed in other posts.
I haven't read many stories set in the Appalachian region, so I really enjoyed McCrumb's use of the area's landscape, people, and folklore in the telling of this tale. She has a way with characterization, using her spare style to create well defined people who, for the most part, are more than stereotypes. She also makes good use of contrasts--the dark and forbidding landscape that lurks behind the natural beauty; the people who harbor dark family secrets in the midst of a close-knit community. The contrasts tend to make the storytelling uneven though, sometimes placing too much emphasis on one part at the expense of another. But I think "haunting" is a good word for this book, and I plan to read more of the ballad series.
Marci S. (MarciNYC) reviewed She Walks These Hills (Audio Cassette) (Abridged) on
I found this book quite difficult to get into, although I did stick with it past 50 pages, which is my usual cut-off if a book isn't grabbing me. I was glad I did, because while I found the story slow going for the first 2/3 of the book, the last 1/3 was worth the wait. McCrumb has a way of bringing the hills of Appalachia to life. I'm not sure I'll read any more of her books, at least not soon, but in the end, an okay read overall.
Fear more chilling than approaching winter blankets the Appalachian community of Dark Hollow, Tennessee. Some believe that the ghost of Katie Wyler, kidnapped by Shawnee two hundred years ago, is once again roaming the hills. Even more frightening, a convicted murderer has escaped prison and is heading home with his woodsman's cunning, mocking all attempts to keep him from getting to the wife who has divorced him. Only an old woman's mystical gift of "the sight" and policewoman Martha Ayers' determination to prove herself as good as any lawman can put to rest the superstitions of Katie's wandering spirit following a trail of death. But can they stop a live, flesh-and-blood predator as elusive as the whistling wind before he kills again...?
I did enjoy this book in spite of it not having one truly likable character, except for possibly Nora, who only had a bit part. There was a lot going on in this book and the author did a great job of bringing it all together. Sharyn McCrumb excels in characterization and visual description. I would recommend this book.
One of my favorites of Sharyn McCrumb's "ballad" books. The legend of a pioneer woman's ghostly travels mingles with that of a young scholar taking an ill-prepared hike through the hills to find out the truth of her story, an escaped convict with alcohol-induced brain disorder making his way home, and changes in the lives of some of the lead characters from throughout the series. As always, McCrumb's skill with creating mystical atmosphere and strong characters make for a book you won't want to put down.
A great book about people living, past & present, in the Appalchain Mountains. This story follows both a totally inexperienced historian (in the present) & an 18 year old girl (in 1779) who are making the treck for different reasons. Beautiful writing of terrific tales! I read alot & I'm sometimes easily bored, but never by any book I've read from the Ballad series.
In the Appalachian community of Dark Hollow, Tennessee, some believe that the ghost of Katie Wyler, kidnapped by Shawnee two hundred years ago, is once again roaming the hills. Only an old woman gifted with "the Sight" and policewoman Martha Ayers can put the superstitions to rest--and stop a flesh-and-blood predator as elusive as the whistling wind...
Sharyn McCrumb is an aware winning southern author. The below is from her web site:
"She is best known for her Appalachian "Ballad" novels, set in the North Carolina/Tennessee mountains, including New York Times Best Sellers She Walks These Hills and The Rosewood Casket, which deal with the issue of the vanishing wilderness, and The Ballad of Frankie Silver, the story of the first woman hanged for murder in the state of North Carolina; and The Songcatcher, a genealogy in music, tracing the author's family from 18th century Scotland to the present by following a Scots Ballad through the generations. Ghost Riders, an account of the Civil War in the mountains of western North Carolina, won the Wilma Dykeman Award for Literature given by the East Tennessee Historical Society."
These are excellent books, I have read most of them.
Fear more chilling than approaching winter blankets the Appalachian community of Dark Hollow, Tennessee. Some believe that the ghoat of Katie Wyler, kidnapoped by Shawnee Two hundred years ago, is once again roaming the hills. Even more frightening, a convicted murderer has escaped prison and is heading home with his woodsman's cunning, mocking all attempts to keep him from getting to the wife who has divorced him.
Fear more chilling than approaching winter blankets the Appalachian community of Dark Hollow Tennessee. Some believe that the ghost of Katie Wyler, kidnapped by Shawnee two hundred years ago, is once again roaming the hills. Even more frightning, a convicted murderer has excaped prison and is heading home with his woodsman's cunning, mocking all attempts to keep him from getting to the wife who has divorced him.