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A young girl in the rural South struggles with her mother’s madness and her father’s betrayal in this moving emotional drama.
Eleven-year-old Ellie Sanders has always looked to her father as the rock she could cling to when her mother’s troubles became too frightening. Daddy has a tranquilizer, meant for horses, that can calm her down when needed. But Ellie’s mother is expecting a new baby, and things have taken a turn for the worse.
Now her father has brought home a pretty teenager who grows tomatoes to sell at the general store he runs in Virginia. Supposedly the girl is here to help the family, but Ellie knows there’s more going on—and senses her security slowly slipping away. Ellie is about to serve as both witness and warden to her mother falling apart, in this powerful novel about a terrified girl clinging desperately to childhood while being forced into adulthood years before she is ready, an atmospheric blend of coming-of-age story and timeless Southern gothic.