Finished July 7
Let Me Die in His Footsteps by Lori Roy
This novel, set in and near a small town in Hayden County, Kentucky, moves back and forth between two time periods: 1936 and 1952.
In 1952, Annie Halloran is just about to come into her ascension, something all local girls celebrate at the age of 15 1/2 by looking into a well to see the face of the boy they will marry. But Annie is unsure of whether she wants to know this. Annie has the gift of "know-how" something her grandmother also has, and something that makes many in the community wary of her. A local boy Ryce Fulkerson, son of the sheriff, is interested in her, but another girl in the community has already laid claim to him at her ascension. Annie is sure she wants Ryce anyway, he seems too nice. Annie lives in the hills with her parents, younger sister, and grandmother, where they farm lavender.
When Annie ventures to look in a well, her younger sister Caroline tags along, and the two find something they didn't expect. Annie has a feeling that someone has come, and that trouble is ahead, and she fears it is her Aunt Juna, a woman Annie has never met, but who she believes is her birth mother.
In 1936, Sarah Crowley and her younger sister Juby live with their younger brother Dale and their father on a farm in the hills, where they grow tobacco. Dale is spoiled as the male child in the family, and has only a young girl, Abigail Watson, as his friend. Juna is a troublemaker, and all the other family members are a bit wary of her. She has a man, Abraham Pace, who wants to marry her, but she keeps putting him off. Sarah is eager for her to be gone as she seems to make life more difficult and thwarts Sarah's own interests in romance. When a tragedy occurs, Juna sets the blame on a man Sarah is sure is innocent, but the community is convinced, and the man is hanged. This changes things in the community, and sets a new course for Sarah.
This book was interesting in its views that were forward-looking in some ways, and superstitious in others. Both time periods have young woman coming into adulthood, trying to choose their futures, but finding that there are other influences that will affect where they will go.