Friday, April 8, 2011

Rosewood Casket by Sharyn McCrumb

Randall Stargill's four son's have gathered at their mountain farm to build a coffin for their dying father. His passing causes a dilemma for his sons, who must come to terms with their dysfunctional family, and also decide what to do with the farm, which has been Stargill land since 1790. Only Clayt, the youngest, a naturalist and Daniel Boone Re-enactor, who loves the land like a latter-day pioneer, wants to save the farm from a real estate developer bent on despoiling the mountain.

For Appalachian wise woman Nora Bonesteel, Randall's sweetheart of long ago, his imminent death poses another problem: the small box that must be buried with Randall, as she tells his family. When the Stargills open the box and find the bones of a child, Sheriff Spencer Arrowood is brought into the matter, but Nora refuses to say where she obtained the bones, or to whom they belonged. The sheriff dreads charging Nora Bonesteel for murder, even more than he dreads evicting his old friends the Stallards from their farm, which has been bought for unpaid taxes by the same real estate developer who wants the Stargill place.

But land is more than a place to the people of the Southern mountains--land is who they are; as much blood kin as the folks in the family cemetery. Their Celtic forebears were willing to die for the land, as were the Cherokees who came before the settlers. Now the settlers' descendants must lose the land--but, as always, someone will die in the process. ~~ from the author's website

I just reread this book for one of my book groups. I had read it years ago when it came out and loved it. I thought it was such a beautiful story. I think it was one of the first hardcover books I ever bought brand new.

When it came time for me to select a book for our group, for some reason this one just popped into my head. I enjoyed the book just as much the second time, although it did seem to be sort of a different story this time from what I remember. But I think that comes with reading a book again at a different time in one's life.

As it turned out, I had to miss our discussion of this book because I had to travel. I was really hoping that my book club members loved it as much as I did. They promised me that they did.


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