book cover of Light to the Hills
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Light to the Hills

A novel by

A richly rewarding novel about family bonds, the power of words, and the resilience of mothers and daughters in 1930s Appalachia.

The folks in the Kentucky Appalachians are scraping by. Coal mining and hardscrabble know-how are a way of life for these isolated people. But when Amanda Rye, a young widowed mother and traveling packhorse librarian, comes through a mountain community hit hard by the nation’s economic collapse, she brings with her hope, courage, and apple pie. Along the way, Amanda takes a shine to the MacInteer family, especially to the gentle Rai; her quick-study daughter, Sass; and Finn, the eldest son who’s easy to warm to. They remind Amanda of her childhood and her parents with whom she longs to be reconciled.

Her connection with the MacInteers deepens, and Amanda shares with them a dangerous secret from her past. When that secret catches up with Amanda in the present, she, Rai, Sass, and Finn find their lives intersecting—and threatened—in the most unexpected ways. Now they must come together as the truth lights a path toward survival, mountain justice, forgiveness, and hope.

Genre: Historical

Praise for this book

"Bonnie Blaylock's Light to the Hills paints a loving, vivid portrait of the families, communities, and landscape of 1930s Appalachia. Its characters endeared themselves to me in their pluck and spirit, their attunement to the natural world, and their fierce love for one another. I wanted to stay immersed in their world." - Susannah Felts

"A bright and vibrant debut. Light to the Hills is a touching meditation on motherhood and the importance of community, especially during difficult times. Bonnie Blaylock will be one to watch in the realm of historical fiction." - Olivia Hawker

"The packhorse librarians of the 1930s opened up entirely new worlds to people through the power of literature, a power no better showcased than within these pages: the vibrant Appalachians, courageous women, and a moving tale of compassion, justice, and forgiveness. Lush and rich with detail in a setting like no other, Bonnie Blaylock's Light to the Hills will transport readers, capturing not only the resilience of those living among the Appalachians but of the lasting and binding magic of stories." - Gabriella Saab

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