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In 1924 South Carolina, a recent boll weevil infestation has destroyed cotton crops and the economy, and the aftermath of the American Civil War, which ended in 1865, is impossible to erase. Against that tumultuous backdrop, the lives of three women with differing social standing in a highly stratified society converge in unforeseen and healing ways.

Gertrude, a poor white woman, does all she can to protect her four girls from her abusive husband and makes a choice that leads to an inescapable reckoning. Retta, born to freed slaves, experiences presentiment—intuitive feelings about the future that cause her emotional hardship—and is employed by plantation owners, the Coles. Annie, the matriarch of the Coles family, struggles with losses and questions that shape her life, and seems to have no answers.

When a storm sweeps through the area, it brings “wreckage incarnate,” literally and metaphorically. As the women are brought together—once strangers, now allies—they forge a bond strengthened by their common love for their children and their grief over losses, and experience the truth of what Retta’s grandmother taught her: “What’s dark must come to light.”

In this stirring, suspenseful novel for adults, author Deb Spera has crafted deeply spiritual characters who rise up against evil and injustice in the only ways they know how, seeking comfort in their common bonds of motherhood and in their faith and trust in God. Note: Netflix has acquired the novel to develop as a potential series. (Park Row)

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