web site hit counter The Unquiet Grave - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

The Unquiet Grave

Availability: Ready to download

From New York Times bestselling author Sharyn McCrumb comes a finely wrought novel set in nineteenth-century West Virginia, based on the true story of one of the strangest murder trials in American history—the case of the Greenbrier Ghost. Lakin, West Virginia, 1930 Following a suicide attempt and consigned to a segregated insane asylum, attorney James P. D. Gardner finds h From New York Times bestselling author Sharyn McCrumb comes a finely wrought novel set in nineteenth-century West Virginia, based on the true story of one of the strangest murder trials in American history—the case of the Greenbrier Ghost. Lakin, West Virginia, 1930 Following a suicide attempt and consigned to a segregated insane asylum, attorney James P. D. Gardner finds himself under the care of Dr. James Boozer. Fresh out of medical school, Dr. Boozer is eager to try the new talking cure for insanity, and encourages his elderly patient to reminisce about his experiences as the first black attorney to practice law in nineteenth-century West Virginia. Gardner's most memorable case was the one in which he helped to defend a white man on trial for the murder of his young bride—a case that the prosecution based on the testimony of a ghost. Greenbrier, West Virginia, 1897 Beautiful, willful Zona Heaster has always lived in the mountains of West Virginia. Despite her mother’s misgivings, Zona marries Erasmus Trout Shue, the handsome blacksmith who has recently come to Greenbrier County. After weeks of silence from the newlyweds, riders come to the Heasters’ place to tell them that Zona has died from a fall, attributed to a recent illness. Mary Jane is determined to get justice for her daughter. A month after the funeral, she informs the county prosecutor that Zona’s ghost appeared to her, saying that she had been murdered. An autopsy, ordered by the reluctant prosecutor, confirms her claim. The Greenbrier Ghost is renowned in American folklore, but Sharyn McCrumb is the first author to look beneath the legend to unearth the facts. Using a century of genealogical material and other historical documents, McCrumb reveals new information about the story and brings to life the personalities in the trial: the prosecutor, a former Confederate cavalryman; the defense attorney, a pro-Union bridgeburner, who nevertheless had owned slaves; and the mother of the murdered woman, who doggedly sticks to her ghost story—all seen through the eyes of a young black lawyer on the cusp of a new century, with his own tragedies yet to come. With its unique blend of masterful research and mesmerizing folklore, illuminating the story’s fascinating and complex characters, The Unquiet Grave confirms Sharyn McCrumb’s place among the finest Southern writers at work today.


Compare

From New York Times bestselling author Sharyn McCrumb comes a finely wrought novel set in nineteenth-century West Virginia, based on the true story of one of the strangest murder trials in American history—the case of the Greenbrier Ghost. Lakin, West Virginia, 1930 Following a suicide attempt and consigned to a segregated insane asylum, attorney James P. D. Gardner finds h From New York Times bestselling author Sharyn McCrumb comes a finely wrought novel set in nineteenth-century West Virginia, based on the true story of one of the strangest murder trials in American history—the case of the Greenbrier Ghost. Lakin, West Virginia, 1930 Following a suicide attempt and consigned to a segregated insane asylum, attorney James P. D. Gardner finds himself under the care of Dr. James Boozer. Fresh out of medical school, Dr. Boozer is eager to try the new talking cure for insanity, and encourages his elderly patient to reminisce about his experiences as the first black attorney to practice law in nineteenth-century West Virginia. Gardner's most memorable case was the one in which he helped to defend a white man on trial for the murder of his young bride—a case that the prosecution based on the testimony of a ghost. Greenbrier, West Virginia, 1897 Beautiful, willful Zona Heaster has always lived in the mountains of West Virginia. Despite her mother’s misgivings, Zona marries Erasmus Trout Shue, the handsome blacksmith who has recently come to Greenbrier County. After weeks of silence from the newlyweds, riders come to the Heasters’ place to tell them that Zona has died from a fall, attributed to a recent illness. Mary Jane is determined to get justice for her daughter. A month after the funeral, she informs the county prosecutor that Zona’s ghost appeared to her, saying that she had been murdered. An autopsy, ordered by the reluctant prosecutor, confirms her claim. The Greenbrier Ghost is renowned in American folklore, but Sharyn McCrumb is the first author to look beneath the legend to unearth the facts. Using a century of genealogical material and other historical documents, McCrumb reveals new information about the story and brings to life the personalities in the trial: the prosecutor, a former Confederate cavalryman; the defense attorney, a pro-Union bridgeburner, who nevertheless had owned slaves; and the mother of the murdered woman, who doggedly sticks to her ghost story—all seen through the eyes of a young black lawyer on the cusp of a new century, with his own tragedies yet to come. With its unique blend of masterful research and mesmerizing folklore, illuminating the story’s fascinating and complex characters, The Unquiet Grave confirms Sharyn McCrumb’s place among the finest Southern writers at work today.

30 review for The Unquiet Grave

  1. 5 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    3.5 Takes a while for this story to actually get going, but I love this type of fiction, so I persevered. A combination of folklore, ghost story and a real murder trial, set at the turn of the century in Appalachia. This author does these types of stories so well, and always does an amazing amount of research. Dark in tone, rich in atmosphere, a strong character in Mary Jane, a mother who would do anything to see that her daughter received justice, at a time when woman had little power. Inside a 3.5 Takes a while for this story to actually get going, but I love this type of fiction, so I persevered. A combination of folklore, ghost story and a real murder trial, set at the turn of the century in Appalachia. This author does these types of stories so well, and always does an amazing amount of research. Dark in tone, rich in atmosphere, a strong character in Mary Jane, a mother who would do anything to see that her daughter received justice, at a time when woman had little power. Inside an asylum for the colored, sits a man, a lawyer, now in his sixties who tried to do away with himself. A young doctor, half his age starts talking to him as a new therapy, and it is during these sessions that the tale unfolds. A strange one it is indeed. The amazing thing is that so much of this is true, real people that lived in the past, actual testimony taken from the trial. Of course, filler is added and this is where the story stalled form a bit, the lawyers backgrounds, the patient and the lead lawyer, who has a very storied past were all disclosed in some length. These parts were for me, very slow reading. Still, the tale as a whole has much to recommend it, and it made for a great October read. I did love the touches she added at books end, added greatly to what had come before. Another great sisters read and discussion, we were kind of split on this one. ARC from Edelweiss.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Susanne Strong

    3 Stars. “The Unquiet Grave” by Sharyn McCrumb is a fictional tale based on one of the strangest murder trials in American History which took place in 1897 – and had to do with a folklore legend of the Greenbrier Ghost. The book was extremely well researched. The book flips back and forth between two time frames. The first is Greenbrier, West Virginia and 1897, where young Zona Heaster marries a man nicknamed “Trout”, whom she hardly knows and suffers dire consequences. Her mother Mary Jane is a s 3 Stars. “The Unquiet Grave” by Sharyn McCrumb is a fictional tale based on one of the strangest murder trials in American History which took place in 1897 – and had to do with a folklore legend of the Greenbrier Ghost. The book was extremely well researched. The book flips back and forth between two time frames. The first is Greenbrier, West Virginia and 1897, where young Zona Heaster marries a man nicknamed “Trout”, whom she hardly knows and suffers dire consequences. Her mother Mary Jane is a strong willed woman who will stop at nothing to get justice for her daughter. The second is Lakin, West Virginia and 1930, where an attorney named James Gardner finds himself in an insane asylum under the care of a doctor nicknamed “Boozer” who wants to help him and he must tell his story to prove his sanity in order to get out. As it turns out, Gardner’s story converges with Ms. Zona’s as he helped defend the man on trial for the murder of his young bride decades earlier. Both of those stories are unique, interesting and they hold your attention. Further, Mary Jane’s character stood out and really made the story. However, the back stories of the all of the peripheral characters contained a lot of extraneous details that were superfluous and unnecessary to the story itself and unfortunately made the novel drag quite a bit and almost made me give up on it. That being said, the author’s note added a lot to the novel as it was clear how much work the author put into the book. Had it not been for Mary Jane’s character, I would have given the book 2 Stars but she warranted another ½ star. In addition, it was the author’s note that made me raise the rating on the book there after from 2.5 to 3 Stars. This book was completely outside of my genre and while it is not a book I would normally read, I am glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried something new. This was a Traveling Sister Group Read for me and it included: Brenda, Norma, Lindsay and Diane. For the full Traveling Sister’s Group Review, please see Norma and Brenda’s Blog: https://twogirlslostinacouleereading.... Published on Goodreads and Twitter on: 10.10.17.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Brenda - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews

    Traveling Sisters Group Review with Norma, Lindsay, Susanne, and Diane I read The Unquiet Grave with three of my Traveling Sisters and this one had us situated in different coulees in the end with our enjoyment and rating for this book. We all did have similar thoughts on The Unquiet Grave however it did affect our overall enjoyment of the story a little differently. We all really enjoyed the Appalachian ghost story with the turn of the century real murder case and appreciated all the research put Traveling Sisters Group Review with Norma, Lindsay, Susanne, and Diane I read The Unquiet Grave with three of my Traveling Sisters and this one had us situated in different coulees in the end with our enjoyment and rating for this book. We all did have similar thoughts on The Unquiet Grave however it did affect our overall enjoyment of the story a little differently. We all really enjoyed the Appalachian ghost story with the turn of the century real murder case and appreciated all the research put into this story explained by Sharyn McCrumb in the Author’s Note. The story starts off slow as Sharyn McCrumb develops the characters and the setting and we really got to know the characters and their surroundings, catching some of us right from the start but not grabbing us all. We all enjoyed Mary Jane’s story as we learn of Zona’s death and her suspicions as to the circumstances of her death. We could really feel Mary Jane’s grief and anger. We all found her to be a strong character and liked her resilience, persistence and her determination for justice. Her confidence really shined through in this story. Where in the story we differ for our enjoyment was with the storyline involving lawyer, James Gardner as he recalls his backstory to Dr. Boozer. We all found the story to be dull and very slow and for some of us, it was really hard to get through it as it really dragged down the story for them. For me, I just wanted to get to Mary Jane’s story and the trial and James’ backstories distracted me from the suspense of the trial. The Unquiet Grave made for a very good discussion and it was interesting to see how parts of the story affected our level of enjoyment and ratings for this one. We varied from 2.5 to 4 stars with everyone having a different rating. For me I recommend. Thank you so much to NetGalley, Atria Books and Sharyn McCrumb for the opportunity to read and review an advanced copy of this book. All of our Traveling Sisters Reviews can be found on our sister blog: http://www.twogirlslostinacouleereadi...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    Times change, but men mostly don't. James P.D. Gardner sits quietly in his darkened room in this former hotel now serving as an asylum for the insane. Although a renowned African American attorney of long standing in Lakin, West Virginia, Gardner had attempted suicide. Like the legal volumes stacked on his office shelf, life's complications carried oppressive weight and took up too much space. Dr. James Boozer, young and inexperienced, leans in closer and encourages Gardner to participate in the " Times change, but men mostly don't. James P.D. Gardner sits quietly in his darkened room in this former hotel now serving as an asylum for the insane. Although a renowned African American attorney of long standing in Lakin, West Virginia, Gardner had attempted suicide. Like the legal volumes stacked on his office shelf, life's complications carried oppressive weight and took up too much space. Dr. James Boozer, young and inexperienced, leans in closer and encourages Gardner to participate in the "new talking cure" being turned out now in 1930. Dr. Boozer returns for brief moments day after day until Gardner begins to reveal details of a most unusual murder case in 1897 in which a man was arrested on suspicion of killing his newly wed bride. Sharyn McCrumb presents a well-researched story based on a true crime that parallels along the lines of this Greenbrier Ghost. Locals stand fixated on the idea that some things just cannot be explained in worldly terms. McCrumb guides the reader down a fork in the road with tellings by James Gardner and with a very earthy rendition by the victim's own mother, Mary Jane Heaster. McCrumb sprinkles this with very colloquial dialogue aimed at bringing the reader into the full mix of this strange story. Zona Heaster, young with sparks afire, meets Eliasmus Trout Shue as if by the heavy twisted hand of a cruel fate. Trout, as he is called, is a newly arrived blacksmith in this small country town in West Virginia. His handsome face is his calling card and Zona clutches it to her heart. The voice of these chapters is Mary Jane's who tells of her daughter's questionable involvement with the shifty Trout. You feel the mother's anguish as Zona and Trout announce their upcoming nuptials. Mary Jane feels the severe disconnect as her daughter, Zona, seems to cut ties with the family immediately after the wedding. She fears for her daughter's well-being. It is only after Zona's death that Mary Jane receives "messages" from Zona herself which have been well-documented during this true trial. Although being a time ripe with Spiritualism, this mother points out directives from beyond the grave. I was drawn in by the time period, the well-developed characters, and the leaning full-handed on the facts of this case. I must say that McCrumb does web out her storyline with so many layers of memories and recollections by James Gardner that tend to bloat out the story at times. The crucial elements of Zona's story should have laid enough texture to this pie without unnecessary crumbs in the mix. But it is exactly the reality of Zona's short life and exhumation that draws you in like a beckoning hand. Oh, now that in itself is a tad bit unsettling, fellow readers. Yowsers! I received a copy of The Unquiet Grave through NetGalley for an honest review. My appreciation to Atria Books and to Sharyn McCrumb for the opportunity.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    I love historical fiction.....especially when there's a bit of a ghost story to compliment it.....and this is a good one!Based on the true story of one of the strangest murder trials in American history, Sharyn McCrumb tells the tale of an 1897 legend.....the Greenbrier Ghost.It's 1930 when while incarcerated in West Virginia's asylum for the colored insane that 63 year old country lawyer James P. D. Gardner recounts his connection to an old murder case defending a white man.In addition to learn I love historical fiction.....especially when there's a bit of a ghost story to compliment it.....and this is a good one!Based on the true story of one of the strangest murder trials in American history, Sharyn McCrumb tells the tale of an 1897 legend.....the Greenbrier Ghost.It's 1930 when while incarcerated in West Virginia's asylum for the colored insane that 63 year old country lawyer James P. D. Gardner recounts his connection to an old murder case defending a white man.In addition to learning about the sudden and mysterious death of a young newlywed....and her mother's vow to seek justice, we also visit the Civil War to learn about the evil exploits of his attorney/Doctor mentor who actually defended the perpetrator of the crime....as well as find out about Gardner's own troubles.Informative and engrossing all the way to the big reveal. (smile) (Am glad I didn't read the book summary on this one.) Many thanks to Atria Books and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Norma

    Traveling Sisters Group Review with Brenda, Lindsay, Susanne, and Diane! THE UNQUIET GRAVE by SHARYN MCCRUMB was an interesting, very informative, and a well-researched tale that was based on the true story of one of the strangest murder trials in American history, of an 1897 folklore legend of the Greenbrier Ghost.  I absolutely love these types of stories especially if there is a ghost involved but somewhere in the middle this book lost my attention and I had a hard time finishing it. This book Traveling Sisters Group Review with Brenda, Lindsay, Susanne, and Diane! THE UNQUIET GRAVE by SHARYN MCCRUMB was an interesting, very informative, and a well-researched tale that was based on the true story of one of the strangest murder trials in American history, of an 1897 folklore legend of the Greenbrier Ghost.  I absolutely love these types of stories especially if there is a ghost involved but somewhere in the middle this book lost my attention and I had a hard time finishing it. This book definitely wasn’t as exciting as I thought it was going to be but that ending was pretty exciting though and I am so glad that I persevered and finished it. SHARYN MCCRUMB delivers a well-written, detailed, and atmospheric tale here with well-developed characters that was told in two different timelines from the 1897 murder case of Zona Heaster and memories and recollections by James Gardner from 1930.  I was really drawn into the 1897’s storyline and enjoyed what I was learning about this case and loved Mary Jane’s character who was the the mother to Zona and the main character from this time period.  The 1930’s timeline is what I didn’t enjoy as much as I thought there was just way too much detail with the memories and recollections that was shared to us by James Gardner and this is where my attention started to wane. I do think though since THE UNQUIET GRAVE was based on a true story and the amount of research that was done by SHARYN MCCRUMB to bring this story to life deserves to be noted here and after finishing this novel and reading the Author’s Note just makes me appreciate this novel so much more. Would recommend to anyone that likes a historical fiction story with folklore, a murder trial, and a good ghost story within the storyline that is based on truth.   Date of Publication:   September 12, 2017 Thank you so much to NetGalley, Atria Books and Sharyn McCrumb for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for a review!! All of our Traveling Sisters Reviews can be found on our sister blog: http://www.twogirlslostinacouleereadi...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews

    2.5 stars This book started off strong, slowly dragged in the middle and then finished with a bang. Unfortunately, the dragging middle part was from about the 40% mark to the 97% mark. I started to lose interest around the halfway mark and had to force myself to keep reading. Had this not been a Traveling Sister Read, I probably would not have finished it. What I enjoyed about the novel was finding out that this was based on “the true story of one of the strangest murder trials in American hist 2.5 stars This book started off strong, slowly dragged in the middle and then finished with a bang. Unfortunately, the dragging middle part was from about the 40% mark to the 97% mark. I started to lose interest around the halfway mark and had to force myself to keep reading. Had this not been a Traveling Sister Read, I probably would not have finished it. What I enjoyed about the novel was finding out that this was based on “the true story of one of the strangest murder trials in American history – the case of the Greenbrier Ghost”. I always enjoy reading historical fiction where I learn about a piece of history I knew little or nothing about. While I liked the educational piece of this book, I just couldn’t connect with the 1930 storyline. It seemed to have a surplus of unnecessary details that were boring, distracting and repetitive. I completely lost interest during these chapters to the point that I was skimming paragraphs. I loved Mary Jane who was the main character in the 1897 storyline. She was a loveable, hard-working and dedicated mother who I deeply sympathized with. However, as much as I loved her character, it didn’t make up for the rest of the redundant story. It was a wonderful experience to read this along with my Traveling Sisters Brenda, Norma, Susanne and Diane! There were varying opinions throughout our group which lead to some interesting discussion. A big thank you to NetGalley, Atria Books and Sharyn McCrumb for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review!! Date of Publication: September 12, 2017 To find this review, along with the other Traveling Sister Read reviews, please visit Norma and Brenda’s fabulous blog at: https://twogirlslostinacouleereading....

  8. 4 out of 5

    Marjorie

    Sharyn McCrumb is a long-time favorite author of mine. Her ballad books are food for my literary soul, with her hauntingly beautiful tales of the Appalachian Mountains folklore. This time she’s veered away from those ballads with a historical novel based upon a true incident. There actually was a murder trial where the accused, Erasmus Trout Shue, was brought to trial for the murder of his wife, Zona Heaster Shue, based on the testimony of his deceased wife. Zona’s mother attests to the fact tha Sharyn McCrumb is a long-time favorite author of mine. Her ballad books are food for my literary soul, with her hauntingly beautiful tales of the Appalachian Mountains folklore. This time she’s veered away from those ballads with a historical novel based upon a true incident. There actually was a murder trial where the accused, Erasmus Trout Shue, was brought to trial for the murder of his wife, Zona Heaster Shue, based on the testimony of his deceased wife. Zona’s mother attests to the fact that her deceased daughter appeared to her and told her how she was murdered, an autopsy was ordered and Trout Shue was brought to trial. The murder took place in 1897. The author has done a marvelous job of pulling out the facts from all of the folklore surrounding this murder. She researched census records, birth and death certificates, property records, maps and photographs and a long paper trail. She brings these people back to life and I was completely captivated by their story. The author lets her story be told alternately by Zona’s mother, Mary Jane Heaster, and by Shue’s attorney, James P.D. Gardner. Interestingly, Gardner tells his part of the story to a psychiatrist while he’s confined to a mental hospital in 1930. Gardner was the first black attorney to practice law in the State of Virginia and this is his most memorable case. I would have given this fascinating account of such a very unusual trial 5 stars except for the quite lengthy examination of the checkered career of the lead prosecutor, W.P. Rucker. While I can certainly understand why the author wanted to include this since it’s of historic interest, that part dragged a bit for me. My main interest in the book was the mother’s quest for justice for her beloved daughter’s murder. I felt such empathy for her as she struggled with her fears for her daughter as she entered this obviously unstable marriage and her grief when her daughter’s life was so brutally ended. Recommended. This book was given to me by the publisher in return for an honest review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Darlene

    I confess that I sometimes enjoy watching the Travel Channel and in particular those shows pertaining to America's Most Haunted Places. When I discovered this novel,The Unquiet Grave written by Sharyn McCrumb, the description held a ring of familiarity for me. Then I remembered... this novel, based on a true crime which occurred in Greenbrier County, West Virginia in the late 19th century had also been featured on a show on the Travel Channel. This tale of the Greenbrier Ghost has become an impo I confess that I sometimes enjoy watching the Travel Channel and in particular those shows pertaining to America's Most Haunted Places. When I discovered this novel,The Unquiet Grave written by Sharyn McCrumb, the description held a ring of familiarity for me. Then I remembered... this novel, based on a true crime which occurred in Greenbrier County, West Virginia in the late 19th century had also been featured on a show on the Travel Channel. This tale of the Greenbrier Ghost has become an important part of West Virginia folklore because it is also the true story of one of the strangest murder trials in American history... the first (and only) time the testimony of a ghost was admitted as evidence in a trial. I listened to the audiobook version of this novel and it was beautifully narrated by Candace Thaxton and Roger Casy. The book has two narrators and moves backward and forward through time, from 1897 to the 1930s. One of the narrators is African American attorney James P.D. Gardner. Mr. Gardner is telling a side of the story from his viewpoint as one of the defense attorneys in the murder trial which is at the center of this tale. In my view, James Gardner is a character which adds depth and clarity to the background of the story and is a tragic but strong character in his own right. The other narrator is Mary Jane Heaster. Mary Jane, matriarch of the Heaster family, works alongside her husband and children on a small patch of land in rural West Virginia, scratching out a living through farming. Waking before dawn and laboring until long after sunset, Mary Jane Heasteris not a woman who would be thought of as a 'shrinking violet'. She is outspoken, practical, no-nonsense , has a strong faith in God and certainly NOT a woman you would suspect of harboring wild superstitions. Getting a sense of Mary Jane's character is one of the things which makes the unfolding story so incredible. Mary Jane is the narrator of Zona Heaster's story. Zona is her only daughter. It's clear from the beginning that Mary Jane holds no illusions about her daughter and it is also apparent that she is exasperated by Zona and her inability and unwillingness to settle down. But along with the exasperation, I could also sense her concern and perhaps even a bit of admiration. Zona is a 'wild child'. At almost 21 years of age, Zone is not content to settle down on a farm with a husband and children. She wants to enjoy her life; and I got the sense that there was a part of Mary Jane that looked at her daughter wistfully. However, despite any secret admiration she might have felt for Zona, Mary Jane was a practical woman. So Zona was sent to stay with relatives in a nearby town and it was Mary Jane's hope that there Zona would begin top calm down. It is during this time that Zona meets a man who will change her life forever. As I was listening to this haunting story, I couldn't help but wonder if, in the many sleepless, anguished nights ahead, Mary Jane Heaster ever wished she could have taken back all the poking and prodding of Zona to get her to settle down and start her own family. Certainly Mary Jane knew better than anyone else how headstrong and stubborn Zona could be and yet, putting myself in her position, I think I would have given anything to take back all the words I said. In the months Zona lived with relatives, she met a handsome man who swept her off her feet and filled her head with romantic ideas. This man, Edward Trout Shue, who preferred being called 'Trout', was the new blacksmith in town but he was also a man with a secret past... one which included two former wives and a stay in the West Virginia state prison in Moundsville. Mary Jane took an instant dislike to Trout but Zona married him after knowing him for a very short time. Months later, the Heaster family was devastated by news of Zona's death from an apparent fall down the stairs. As soon as Mary Jane received news of Zona's death, she was convinced it was NOT an accident . She was sure Zona had been killed by her new husband ,Trout Shue. Although it was later revealed that Trout had acted strangely at the scene of the accident... not allowing the doctor to closely examine Zona's body.. Zona's deaths as ruled accidental and the case was closed to everyone except Mary Jane. She went to the district attorney and by insisting that Zona's ghost had visited her on three consecutive nights and revealed that she had been murdered, Mary Jane convinced the attorney to have the body exhumed. Upon autopsy, it was clear that Zona HAD, in fact, been murdered and her husband Trout Shue was arrested and ultimately convicted ... perhaps in part by the accumulated circumstantial evidence but maybe perhaps because of the unshakeable testimony provided by Mary Jane Heaster. Was Mary Jane Heater visited by the spirit of her murdered daughter? Well, you can decide that for yourself; but Ms. McCrumb DOES provide some tantalizing clues in the story as to what SHE believes happened. The narration provided by both attorney James Gardner and Mary Jane Heaster combines perfectly to present a snapshot in time of life in a small, rural West Virginia community at the turn of the 20th century. This picture shows that life was difficult and people were struggling with a segregated society. But it also shows a hard working and close-knit community. This piece of folklore was, to me, most of all a love story... a pure love story between a mother and her daughter. Mary Jane Heaster was a mother who accepted her child for all of her maddening faults and still loved her intensely. She made it her mission to ensure that her daughter's killer did not escape justice. Because you can find just about anything you are looking for online, I discovered a clip of the Greenbrier Ghost which I remembered from the Travel Channel show... http://www.travelchannel.com/videos/t...

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ioana

    5 stars for the meticulous historical research McCrumb undertook and for her attention to contextual nuance and details. I was leaning towards 4 stars until I finished the novel and came upon the Author's Note, which explained the basis of The Unquiet Grave as the folktale of the Greenbrier Ghost of West Virginia, a tale born of the real life story of Zona Heaster Shue (pictured below). Zona Heaster Shue Zona Heaster Shue was a young, beautiful farmers' daughter who married an equally handsome bla 5 stars for the meticulous historical research McCrumb undertook and for her attention to contextual nuance and details. I was leaning towards 4 stars until I finished the novel and came upon the Author's Note, which explained the basis of The Unquiet Grave as the folktale of the Greenbrier Ghost of West Virginia, a tale born of the real life story of Zona Heaster Shue (pictured below). Zona Heaster Shue Zona Heaster Shue was a young, beautiful farmers' daughter who married an equally handsome blacksmith, a man we would easily recognize today as a classic abuser (though at the time, in the late 19th century, the language to describe this behavior was not widely used or understood). Soon after her wedding, Zona's body was found (in the house pictured below), allegedly dead from a fall. However, suspicious circumstances in her husband's behavior and past (such as an abused ex-wife and another prior wife dead from a "fall") lead Mary Jane Heaster, Zona's mother, to believe that Trout Shue had killed his wife. Unable to think of another way to bring Shue to justice, Mary Jane recounted a story to the county prosecutor, John Alfred Preston, about her daughter's ghost returning to tell the tale of her murder; intrigued, Preston ordered an exhumation of Zona's body and found that, indeed, her neck had been wrung. The house where Zona was killed The novel alternates timelines between the late 19th century, mostly spoken in the voice of Zona's mother, Mary Jane (pictured below), and the 1930s, which presents the story as remembered by a lawyer from Trout Shue's trial. The 19th century timeline vividly depicts West Virginia small-town/farm life in the era and brings the region fully to life while sketching realistic portraits of characters who might have populated the landscape of the times. This part, I loved (I've been on a rural-America binge for some months now, and McCrumb skilfully transports the reader to the region). The 1930s timeline also fascinated me, seeing as the location is a segregated asylum; one of Shue's lawyers, a black man, recounts his life and the trial to the resident psychiatrist. Mary Jane Heaster, Zona's mother Had The Unquiet Grave been pure fiction, I may have had some quibbles with the structure of the story, such as, for example, the integration of the 1930s timeline (why a psychiatrist would talk for hours on end about a patient's former vocation, without touching on his psyche/psychic condition, is a hard sell). Still, since McCrumb quite evidently spent years in archives and historical sites, speaking with experts, and even making a quite obscure (and original) connection to a similar case in England, imo she deserves a full rating for the precision of her research, as well as for the ways in which she brings the region to life.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lori Lamothe

    Zona Heaster is a beautiful redhead who wants more out of life than the mountains of West Virginia can offer her in 1897. After secretly bearing a child out of wedlock, she takes up with a 35-year-old blacksmith whose good looks and easy charm are impossible to resist. Their whirlwind courtship doesn’t last long, however, and within months of their wedding Zona is found dead. Everyone but Zona’s mother accepts her death as a tragic accident and the funeral would likely have marked the end of her Zona Heaster is a beautiful redhead who wants more out of life than the mountains of West Virginia can offer her in 1897. After secretly bearing a child out of wedlock, she takes up with a 35-year-old blacksmith whose good looks and easy charm are impossible to resist. Their whirlwind courtship doesn’t last long, however, and within months of their wedding Zona is found dead. Everyone but Zona’s mother accepts her death as a tragic accident and the funeral would likely have marked the end of her story—if her ghost hadn’t insisted on bringing her husband to trial. James P.D. Gardner is the first black attorney to practice law in West Virginia. He also happens to be involuntarily committed to a segregated insane asylum after a failed suicide attempt. More than three decades after Gardner helped defend Zona’s husband, a young doctor convinces him to try the new “talking cure.” Over the course of his stay at the asylum, Gardner recounts the events surrounding the blacksmith’s trial and grapples with his own problems. Told in alternating POV’s between Gardner and Zona’s mother Mary Jane, "The Unquiet Grave" is a well-researched novel that resurrects a fascinating historical tale. In a sense, this book is more true crime than fiction because the events Sharyn McCrumb writes about are not invented and many of the smallest details are based on official documents. Beginning with an entry in a folklore book that was less than two pages long, McCrumb set out to uncover the facts behind the Greenbrier Ghost legend and she succeeded. Her novel not only gives a clear picture of the trial but also creates a layered depiction of West Virginia at the end of the nineteenth century. As is true of all the ballad novels, "The Unquiet Grave" is far more than a mystery to be unraveled. McCrumb’s knowledge of Appalachia, as well as her feeling for the region’s land and its people, allows her to transcend genre and create works of lasting merit. She is a truly gifted writer. I would warn readers not to enter into this book expecting the page-turning suspense of the earlier ballad novels. This novel isn’t set in Dark Hollow, Tennesee and familiar characters like Sheriff Spencer Arrowood and Nora Bonesteel don’t make an appearance. There is no mystery to solve, per se, and the pacing is slow at times, especially in Gardner’s chapters. McCrumb’s quirky brand of humor (which I love) is also absent. That said, "The Unquiet Grave" recounts a forgotten slice of history that deserves to be told. And if you haven’t read her other ballad novels, I highly recommend them. Much thanks to Atria Books and NetGalley for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    4.5 stars....unique story telling told from POV of Attorney Gardner and mrs. Heaster. This is really a fascinating story that is both factual and part folklore. I appreciate McCrumb’s research on her subjects, time and place. The voice of Attorney Gardner had me in the first chapter, very convincing even though the chapter opens up with him in an asylum. Interesting account of murder set in late 1800’s. Very enjoyable read. Highly recommend. Update:visited Zona’s grave today 6/10/18 “Greenbrier g 4.5 stars....unique story telling told from POV of Attorney Gardner and mrs. Heaster. This is really a fascinating story that is both factual and part folklore. I appreciate McCrumb’s research on her subjects, time and place. The voice of Attorney Gardner had me in the first chapter, very convincing even though the chapter opens up with him in an asylum. Interesting account of murder set in late 1800’s. Very enjoyable read. Highly recommend. Update:visited Zona’s grave today 6/10/18 “Greenbrier ghost” on headstone

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mary Plunkett

    Enjoyed this book mostly because of the extensive research done by the author. Not as spooky as I was hoping for but interesting and well written. Worth the read!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    This is my second attempt to read this book. Not sure what turned me off the first time but I am hooked now! 15/3/18 Having now finished reading, I would recommend this book to lovers of Historical fiction and also to those who love an old fashioned Courtroom Trial. I struggled in my first attempt, to follow whose perspective the narrative was coming from. However once the stage was set and characters fleshed out, I really enjoyed this story. The chapters regarding Mr Gardner were interesting excep This is my second attempt to read this book. Not sure what turned me off the first time but I am hooked now! 15/3/18 Having now finished reading, I would recommend this book to lovers of Historical fiction and also to those who love an old fashioned Courtroom Trial. I struggled in my first attempt, to follow whose perspective the narrative was coming from. However once the stage was set and characters fleshed out, I really enjoyed this story. The chapters regarding Mr Gardner were interesting except when he was retelling the history of Dr Rucker. I felt like that chapter could easily have been left out. I thought that the stories alternating from Mr Gardner and Mary Jane (and others) had to have some connection and soon worked out how they overlapped. I thought that the story of Mr Gardner and Dr Boozer added to the story even though it actually took place many years later. I would have liked to know a bit more about Mary Jane and Jacob after the Trial, however when I read the Author note I understood why this was not possible This was definitely a page turner for me.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    Almost my cup of tea(not enough blood, guts and Gore!LOL), but still a good read.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    The Unquiet Grave is about the Greenbrier Ghost legend in West Virginia. The story tells about a ghost of a young woman, Zona Heaster Shue, who visits her mother and tells her how she had died. Mary Jane is determined to prove that Zona was murdered. She goes to town to tell the prosecutor that Zona ghost appear to her and knows she was murdered. Zona's body is then exhumed and everyone was shocked to find that Mary Jane was right! The Unquiet Grave is one of the best books I have read in a long The Unquiet Grave is about the Greenbrier Ghost legend in West Virginia. The story tells about a ghost of a young woman, Zona Heaster Shue, who visits her mother and tells her how she had died. Mary Jane is determined to prove that Zona was murdered. She goes to town to tell the prosecutor that Zona ghost appear to her and knows she was murdered. Zona's body is then exhumed and everyone was shocked to find that Mary Jane was right! The Unquiet Grave is one of the best books I have read in a long time. I have never heard of the Greenbrier Ghost before but I want to know more about it. I enjoyed how Sharyn McCrumb's vivid storytelling brings this legend to life. My heart aches for Mary Jane when her precious Zona died and was fascinated how she found the strength to go to the authorities to tell them about how Zona appeared to her. Which brought on a fascinating trial. How many trials in history that were brought on by ghost? I was completely caught off guard at the ending of the book and was especially interested by the Authors Notes.  Great read! 100 stars.  Even though I received this book from the publisher, I was not required to write a review. This review is 100% my own opinion.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 2.5 - 3 stars I had a really hard time getting into this book. The beginning grabbed me and I was very interested in Mary Jane & Zona’s story. But once the story focus shifted to James and Dr. Boozer, I started losing interest. I had a very hard time staying focused and invested in the story and there was just too many details and recollections from James that just did not seem relevant to the story at all. I really enjoyed the c I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 2.5 - 3 stars I had a really hard time getting into this book. The beginning grabbed me and I was very interested in Mary Jane & Zona’s story. But once the story focus shifted to James and Dr. Boozer, I started losing interest. I had a very hard time staying focused and invested in the story and there was just too many details and recollections from James that just did not seem relevant to the story at all. I really enjoyed the character of Mary Jane and I really loved how this was based on a true story. However, with the middle section of the book being such a drag, I really struggled to get through it. All in all, I thought the book just fell flat and was fairly boring.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Donna Davis

    Voice, voice, voice; nobody writes like Sharyn McCrumb. Here her dry, dark humor combines with her expertise in Appalachian culture and above all, her deep respect for the working poor, and the result is a masterpiece of an historical mystery. Thanks to Net galley for the DRC, and to Atria for sending a hard copy galley and a finished copy of this excellent novel. However, had I paid full freight, I’d have come away happy. This book will be available to the public September 12, 2017. Based upon t Voice, voice, voice; nobody writes like Sharyn McCrumb. Here her dry, dark humor combines with her expertise in Appalachian culture and above all, her deep respect for the working poor, and the result is a masterpiece of an historical mystery. Thanks to Net galley for the DRC, and to Atria for sending a hard copy galley and a finished copy of this excellent novel. However, had I paid full freight, I’d have come away happy. This book will be available to the public September 12, 2017. Based upon the legend of the Greenbrier Ghost, our story is set in West Virginia in 1897. Zola Heaster is swept away by the handsome young blacksmith that comes to her tiny Appalachian farming community. Her story is told to us primarily in a first person narrative by her mother, Mary Jane. Magnetic physical attraction overwhelms any common sense Zona may possess—which isn’t much—so when the handsome stranger comes along, Zona tumbles: “Zona was well nigh smirking at him—cat-in-the-cream-jug smug, she was. Well, Mr. Shue—the name fits the trade, I see—I am Miss Zona Heaster, a visitor to my cousin’s house, here. How do…Well before Edward ‘Call me Trout’ Shue came ambling along, with his possum grin and his storybook profile, we’d had trouble with Zona.” Before we can draw breath, Zona is pregnant. It isn’t the first time, either, though the first was kept quiet, settled out of the area. As her mother wonders whether Trout will want to marry her, Zona brags, “’He’d be lucky to have me.’ “’Well, Zona, it seems that he already has.’” Mary Jane doesn’t like her daughter’s suitor, and a number of small but troubling things make her reluctant to see this wedding take place, even given the shotgun-wedding circumstances. We are disquieted, not by huge monstrous overt acts by Shue, but by the small hints that provide a deeper suspicion, a sense of foreboding. Part of McCrumb’s genius is in knowing when less is more. Ultimately, Zona marries and moves away, and is little heard from. Too little. And here is the mother’s dilemma that most of us will recognize: how much should a mother pry? Will it make things better to follow our nose to the source of trouble; can we help? Or will our efforts only antagonize one or both of the newlyweds? And I love Zona’s father, the laconic Jacob who tells his wife that Zona has made the choice to marry, and she’s made the choice to stay there, so “Let her go, Mary Jane.” But it’s a terrible mistake. A secondary thread alternates with this one. The year is 1930; attorney James P.D. Gardner is consigned to a segregated insane asylum following a suicide attempt. His doctor is the young James Boozer, who has decided to try the new technique that involves talking to one’s patients. This device works wonderfully here because it provides Gardner the opportunity to discuss a particularly interesting case he tried many years prior, one that involved defending a white man accused of murdering his wife. The conversation flows organically, rather than as a monologue shoehorned into the prose. I am surprised at first to see McCrumb write dialogue for African-American men; I don’t think she has done this before, although I can’t swear to this.( I have been reading her work since the 90s and may have forgotten a few things along the way.) The dialogue between Gardner and Boozer is dignified and natural, and this is a relief; those that have read my reviews know that there have been others that failed in this regard. And just as the discussion starts to drone—intentional, since one of the two men yawns just at the moment I do—everything wakes up, and we learn about the trial of Trout Shue from a different vantage point. Every aspect of this novel is done with the authority and mastery of Appalachian fiction for which McCrumb is legendary. The dialect is so resonant that I find myself using it in writing, speech, and even thought—just tiny snippets here and there—and then laughing at myself. And I cannot help wondering how much of it stewed its way into McCrumb’s own conversations while she was writing. You may find it in yours. The result here is spellbinding, and the use of Appalachian legend, herbal medicine, and folklore makes it all the more mesmerizing. Again, skill and experience tell here. How many novels have I read in which an author’s research is shoehorned in to such a degree that it hijacks the plot? Not so here. The cultural tidbits are an integral part of Mary Jane’s personality, and there’s no teasing them apart. Instead of distracting as it might in less capable hands, the folklore develops character and setting, and ultimately contributes to the plot, when Zona’s ghost returns to let Mary Jane know that she has been murdered. This is no-can-miss fiction, strongly recommended to those with a solid command of the English language and a love of great literature.

  19. 4 out of 5

    MaryannC. Book Freak

    A fascinating fictional account based on the Greenbrier Ghost. Set in 1897 West Virginia, the story of young headstrong and promiscuous Zona Heaster who quickly falls for and marries handsome, sweet talking Trout Shue, a young man working for the local smithy. After a brief honeymoon Zona's mother Mary Jane realizes all is not well in the marriage and shockingly discovers that Zona has died suddenly under musterious circumstances. More shocking is that one night Zona appears to her mother to tel A fascinating fictional account based on the Greenbrier Ghost. Set in 1897 West Virginia, the story of young headstrong and promiscuous Zona Heaster who quickly falls for and marries handsome, sweet talking Trout Shue, a young man working for the local smithy. After a brief honeymoon Zona's mother Mary Jane realizes all is not well in the marriage and shockingly discovers that Zona has died suddenly under musterious circumstances. More shocking is that one night Zona appears to her mother to tell her that her new husband murdered her. In another parallel storyline to Zona's tale is James Gardner, the first African American lawyer in West Virginia who represented the murderer Tom Shue. This was a fascinating bit of history and folklore that I never heard of which propels me to further learn about this case and to also explore more of McCrumb's books with this being my first read by her. Worth picking up.

  20. 5 out of 5

    CoffeeandInk

    The Unquiet Grave is a retelling of a folk story about a ghost who appeared as a witness at the trial of the man who murdered her, through her mother. The narrative is broken up, as far as the timeline and point of view, between the mother’s present in 1897 and the lawyer’s assistant in a 1930s asylum. It’s based on real life and though at times I felt impatient with the various characters involved with the trial, it’s the mother, Mary Jane, and the details of her life in West Virginia and her p The Unquiet Grave is a retelling of a folk story about a ghost who appeared as a witness at the trial of the man who murdered her, through her mother. The narrative is broken up, as far as the timeline and point of view, between the mother’s present in 1897 and the lawyer’s assistant in a 1930s asylum. It’s based on real life and though at times I felt impatient with the various characters involved with the trial, it’s the mother, Mary Jane, and the details of her life in West Virginia and her pursuit for justice that had me engrossed. The big story question, did she make up the part about seeing her daughter’s ghost? is not quite resolved, though her gut instincts about the murderer help to get the killer prosecuted. A truly fascinating study of domestic violence. I’d forgotten what a powerful and compelling storyteller the author is, and I’m ready to go back to her backlist to see what I’ve missed.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jeanie

    Love is a form of madness in one woman's search for justice. An account of actual events in Greenbrier County in 1897 told in a poetic prose of a mother Mary Jane and the killer's defense attorney James P Gardner years later. The narration goes back and forth in time with the mother's relationship with her daughter Zona. A beautiful girl full of spunk and determination. Zona falls fast and hard for Trout Shue a blacksmith who has been married before. Mary Jane is not ignorant of her daughter's m Love is a form of madness in one woman's search for justice. An account of actual events in Greenbrier County in 1897 told in a poetic prose of a mother Mary Jane and the killer's defense attorney James P Gardner years later. The narration goes back and forth in time with the mother's relationship with her daughter Zona. A beautiful girl full of spunk and determination. Zona falls fast and hard for Trout Shue a blacksmith who has been married before. Mary Jane is not ignorant of her daughter's misgivings however, she feels that something is amiss months later after the wedding. When her daughter is discovered dead, she knows that Zona's husband is to blame. With great courage, Mary Jane goes to the prosecutor with a tale of the Ghost of her daughter that she was murdered and did not suffer an accident but a violent death in the hands of her husband. Gardner is assigned to Trout's case and years later relives the tale in the Asylum under the care of Dr. James Boozer. The narrations give different perspectives of the culture on race and justice. It is a haunting tale of a mother's grief and Gardner's part of the defense of Shue. Retelling his part, you question whether he has regrets in the process of justice. A different historical fiction with intrigue and the stories of the past forgotten but given new life. I was totally engaged. A Special Thank You to Atria Books and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Olga

    Oh, Sharyn, I am so happy you have come back to Appalachia. I have been a fan of the Ballad novels for years. Then when I had read all of them, I tried other books by Sharyn McCrumb. I hated the Dale series (in the world of car races), enjoyed the Scottish romcom of the Elizabeth McPherson series but still missed Appalachia. And here it is! The unhurried (not slow!) detailed narration, many characters one get to really care about, as well as an actual mystery - all give me enormous pleasure. In Oh, Sharyn, I am so happy you have come back to Appalachia. I have been a fan of the Ballad novels for years. Then when I had read all of them, I tried other books by Sharyn McCrumb. I hated the Dale series (in the world of car races), enjoyed the Scottish romcom of the Elizabeth McPherson series but still missed Appalachia. And here it is! The unhurried (not slow!) detailed narration, many characters one get to really care about, as well as an actual mystery - all give me enormous pleasure. In addition, the bizarre story is based on a real legal case. At this time I do not really care about the outcome of the trial but am savoring each storyline: the farmwife mourning her daughter and trying to get justice for her and the memories of a middle-aged black lawyer confined to an insane asylum. And the trial has not even begun yet for me! So excited to have found this! Update. Sadly, upon finishing the book I am not as enamored of it as in the beginning. The story had meandered into pretty boring sidelines (probably because having done a lot of research, the author was loathing to having it go to waste. I was losing interest and focus on and off. Also, the two narrators were not very clear when they had to read for two characters of the same gender and race as in conversations between Dr. Boozer and Mr.Gardner, or Mrs. Heaster and Zona. So some of those were confusing. Overall, the story left me with the impression of unrelenting sadness in lives wasted in toil and poverty rather than with the feeling of being entertained by a ghost story. Nevertheless, descriptions of farm life, law, and medicine shortly after the Civil War in West Virginia, and of the African Americans' lives at the time (doctors and lawyers in that community), were very engaging and educational.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    The Unquiet Grave is historical fiction, based on a true crime committed in Greenbriar, West Virginia in 1897. Mary Jane, mother of Zona Heaster, narrates part of this novel, and drives the investigation into the untimely death of her daughter, a young bride of only a few months. Mary Jane strongly believes her daughter has been brutally murdered and insisted that Zona’s ghost has named her murderer. I found this a moving tale of a mother’s strong love for her flawed, strong - willed daughter. O The Unquiet Grave is historical fiction, based on a true crime committed in Greenbriar, West Virginia in 1897. Mary Jane, mother of Zona Heaster, narrates part of this novel, and drives the investigation into the untimely death of her daughter, a young bride of only a few months. Mary Jane strongly believes her daughter has been brutally murdered and insisted that Zona’s ghost has named her murderer. I found this a moving tale of a mother’s strong love for her flawed, strong - willed daughter. Our children are not perfect, and neither is parental love, but it is a bond like no other, and for that reason alone, I found this an incredibly moving portrait of a mother - daughter relationship. This isn’t a typical mystery, in my mind, so I didn’t tag it as such, but it is a rich historical novel that succeeds on several levels.

  24. 5 out of 5

    lucky little cat

    No one knows Appalachia like Sharyn McCrumb. Here she retells the sorry (but riveting) story of the Greenbrier Ghost, a ghost-bride legend that McCrumb reveals as factual, a true-crime story from the rural 1890s.  Even more compelling than the supernatural shivers are McCrumb's intuitive recreations of the characters' complicated relationships. Conversations between Zona, the headstrong (and unlucky) bride, and her sensible mother Mary Jane ring true. No one, least of all her mother, can tell yo No one knows Appalachia like Sharyn McCrumb. Here she retells the sorry (but riveting) story of the Greenbrier Ghost, a ghost-bride legend that McCrumb reveals as factual, a true-crime story from the rural 1890s.  Even more compelling than the supernatural shivers are McCrumb's intuitive recreations of the characters' complicated relationships. Conversations between Zona, the headstrong (and unlucky) bride, and her sensible mother Mary Jane ring true. No one, least of all her mother, can tell young Zona anything. Mary Jane reluctantly sends her daughter into marriage not just with love and anxious hopes but also with a practical (and sizable) dowry of home-canned goods. (view spoiler)[It won't be enough to save the girl. (hide spoiler)] Zona, the unlucky bride, on the left; her mother, Mary Jane, on the right. The story is complicated by multiple narrators from different eras, all historical, some more compelling than others.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Bon

    A well-established lady scholar and researcher extraordinaire writes a series examining the origin stories of Appalachian-region folk ballads? Sign me the HECK up. She has even solved a RL mystery concerning one of them? Sign me up in BLOOD. This was amazing. Equal parts frustrating, satisfying, chilling, and tear-inspiring. The last few pages were.... revelatory. I'd first call this story well-rounded. Dual POVs, between Zona's mother and Lawyer Gardner who was on the defense team for her murder A well-established lady scholar and researcher extraordinaire writes a series examining the origin stories of Appalachian-region folk ballads? Sign me the HECK up. She has even solved a RL mystery concerning one of them? Sign me up in BLOOD. This was amazing. Equal parts frustrating, satisfying, chilling, and tear-inspiring. The last few pages were.... revelatory. I'd first call this story well-rounded. Dual POVs, between Zona's mother and Lawyer Gardner who was on the defense team for her murderer, flesh out an incredible story. There are even brief POVs from the Prosecutor and the murderer himself, one of which makes a very subtle accusation/revelation that potentially turns the story on its head. Zona's mother - discounted as 1) a woman and 2) an uneducated rural countryside housewife, was the only proper POV to begin with including. She may have been just a southern woman to others, but like the black lawyer, comes off sharp as a whip and "knows what's up". The phrase "woman's intuition" was never felt so keenly as in her astute observations of Zona's shady husband, before and after her death. It was just...satisfying as heck to read her scornful inner monologues, maddened with the lack of justice at first. The black lawyer's POV was artfully executed, in my opinion - perhaps not this author's story to tell, but McCrumb covered the racism he faced, and fleshed him out via an older him telling this story through reminiscing in an asylum. Most memorably for me, he jumps in to combat his white male lawyer boss and prevent the deadly repercussions that would've resulted from casting aspersions on a young mentally-disabled black teen who discovered the body, for a scapegoat. Had that been done, "If Rucker proceeded with this ploy, which to him was no more than an ingenious ruse to deflect attention from the client, Anderson Jones would surely hang for it. Illegally perhaps, not after due process in a court of law, but trial or no trial, one dark night a mob would lynch him from a tree somewhere out in the country. Even the suggestion of such an incident might be enough to get him killed." I found the inner monologue of the lawyer very sharp and savvy, his position very apt to be included. The murderer's POV is an attempt to excuse his behavior - okay, having starved in a prison during an even earlier stint there in life gave him a sort of PTSD regarding hunger, which led to his murderous outburst when dinner wasn't on the table? Huh. While it in no way excuses his actions - I mean he was literally already a criminal and wifebeater to two other spouses too - this was the right thing to do, offer this completion of the tale. I teared up the last couple pages. It's certainly food for thought, the whole situation. And while I have started these out of order - they're not connected at all I believe - I will certainly be trying to devour all the Ballad series now. This comes highly recommended from me, for those who like historical fic/true crime(i know these two seem paradoxical but artistic liberties are surely taken at some point?) and a bit of lady vengeance thrown in.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Huether

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Greenbrier, West Virginia, 1897, Zona Heaster decides to marry a blacksmith Erasmus Trout Shue.; much to her mother's dismay. Only a short time after Zona's wedding her neighbor come to Zona's mother and informed her that Zona was dead. In the night Zona visited her mother and told her that Erasmus had killed her. All spectulation ceased when Zona's body was exhumed and autopsied. A trial was held with lawyers on both sides. The husband was found guilty and was sent to a life time in prison. Zona's mo Greenbrier, West Virginia, 1897, Zona Heaster decides to marry a blacksmith Erasmus Trout Shue.; much to her mother's dismay. Only a short time after Zona's wedding her neighbor come to Zona's mother and informed her that Zona was dead. In the night Zona visited her mother and told her that Erasmus had killed her. All spectulation ceased when Zona's body was exhumed and autopsied. A trial was held with lawyers on both sides. The husband was found guilty and was sent to a life time in prison. Zona's mother Mary Jane Heaster did all that she could for her daughter Zona. This story is based on local folklore.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Linda Lipko

    This is a fictional telling of a murder that actually occurred. The setting is Greenbrier County, West Virginia. I was drawn to this book primarily because I wanted to learn how the author could retell the story of the ghost of her daughter who visited her mother. My great grandmother lived in rural West Virginia when she was young. When she visited us at night, she loved to tell spooky stories, and as I remember, she told us ghost stories often. My sisters and I were scared, but always wanted t This is a fictional telling of a murder that actually occurred. The setting is Greenbrier County, West Virginia. I was drawn to this book primarily because I wanted to learn how the author could retell the story of the ghost of her daughter who visited her mother. My great grandmother lived in rural West Virginia when she was young. When she visited us at night, she loved to tell spooky stories, and as I remember, she told us ghost stories often. My sisters and I were scared, but always wanted to learn more. The description of rural Appalachia where life was tough and those who lived there, in order to survive, were tougher. A young girl, Zona Heaster, is more than a bit foolish and unwise and has an out-of-wedlock child. Her mother gave the baby away to an older couple. Already tarnished by the standards of the time, Zona, suddenly latches on to an older man who seems to be steady and holds a job. After a quick marriage, she is whisked away a few hours from her parents. The husband dominates and thus the girl has no contact with her family. In a short period of time, Zona is dead. Saddened, her mother brings the body back home for burial. Suspiciously, her Zona's husband protects the coffin and the body. Grieving, the mother wonders what she could have done. In her sleep, Zona appears in a dream, and her mother is led to believe her daughter was murdered by a breakage to her neck. The defense team contained an African American man, who now, years later lives in an asylum for colored people. Part of the story is told by his recollections of the tale. The prosecution was firm in their conviction that Zona was indeed murdered at the hands of Erasmus Trout Shue. While, I thought the book seemed to take a long time for the story to unravel, I was fascinated. And, I could almost hear my great grandmother tell the story. Three Stars

  28. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Loved this fascinating story based on historical facts. I’d forgotten what a great writer Sharyn McCrum is and now I need to get busy and read a few more of her books. This books uses two different time periods 1897 and the 1930’s. A murder of a young bride and the young lawyer who helps defend the murderer, relates the story to his psychiatrist in his later years. The murder and the surrounding story relates a lot of civil war history which is very interesting and enlightening. I give it 4 star Loved this fascinating story based on historical facts. I’d forgotten what a great writer Sharyn McCrum is and now I need to get busy and read a few more of her books. This books uses two different time periods 1897 and the 1930’s. A murder of a young bride and the young lawyer who helps defend the murderer, relates the story to his psychiatrist in his later years. The murder and the surrounding story relates a lot of civil war history which is very interesting and enlightening. I give it 4 stars for the writing and the story and an extra star for the research involved.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Dickison

    McCrumb's first 6 or 7 ballad books were just fantastic, but then she went off form for several books. This one is very close to being as good as the first ones, but not quite. Based on a true story with a lot of research this concerns the death of a young woman by her miserable husband. The dead girl's mother is determined to prove he murdered her daughter. McCrumb's writing can evoke feelings that most authors can't touch. Recommended. McCrumb's first 6 or 7 ballad books were just fantastic, but then she went off form for several books. This one is very close to being as good as the first ones, but not quite. Based on a true story with a lot of research this concerns the death of a young woman by her miserable husband. The dead girl's mother is determined to prove he murdered her daughter. McCrumb's writing can evoke feelings that most authors can't touch. Recommended.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Laurie Notaro

    Just not very well done.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.