Sometimes there are stories floating around about things that happened a long time ago, which nobody can explain. When eight-year-old Anna Lee takes off running one day, fleeing a painful scene and seeking refuge from her family’s lingering grief, she unknowingly brings to the surface some questions that this small, southern Appalachian community had long ago buried.
Who was the stranger that appeared at the midwife’s door one distant winter’s night and disappeared again silently, leaving a mystery that had remained for over a generation? Who was the child that was born with eyes the color of a harvest moon, that only wanted to sing, and the boy that would grow to love her beyond himself? What was the reason for the brutal murder in the woods that left one man dead, another sentenced to life in prison and a young woman to die months later, without ever uttering another word? And who was the man that came face to face with Anna Lee in a place she was certain was unknown, each of them in their hour of greatest need, each with their own pain and secrets to be revealed–and perhaps healed?
The desperate search for the runaway, Anna Lee, is paralled by the storyteller’s version of a mystery that most folks around have long forgotten. All the while Anna Lee struggles within a situation that holds danger beyond what she can imagine, and it is only in her innocence, even in the face of death, that she becomes the key to a revelation and the answer to a longing.
All the Pieces is not only a tale of birth, death and grief, but is also the story of profound love and a journey’s end.
This is the story of a family’s journey to the truth, told through the eyes of thirteen-year-old Angel Bishop. She’s fed up with all the unanswered questions about her life, like why did her Daddy run off when she was just a baby, leaving her to grow up fatherless? And why has her Aunt Patsy, the only family member she feels she can talk to, been locked up in a place for crazy people all these years? It seems to Angel like her family fell completely apart right after she was born, which makes her wonder what her coming along had to do with it.
Growing up in a small east Tennessee town with her mother Ruth, who is often distant and preoccupied, and her Bible-thumping grandmother Naomi, Angel is certain there’s more to the story than she’s been told. When her daddy, Calvin, telephones out of the blue one evening and says he’s coming home for Thanksgiving, Angel thinks her dream of a normal family is finally going to come true. Instead, her world starts to unravel.
Desperate for answers, Angel seeks the secrets buried in Aunt Patsy’s troubled mind and the wisdom of Old Susan, the town’s eccentric outcast. She also tries to be supportive of her best friend Sophie, who is facing the imminent loss of her mother, but the relationship becomes strained over things that are happening at school.
As the day for Calvin’s supposed return approaches, Angel’s conflicted feelings grow, driving her to the point of bold and perhaps reckless decisions. She finds herself entangled in a dangerous scenario far beyond her understanding, and becomes the unwitting link between two generations of her family’s dark and unresolved story. What she doesn’t know is how much is at stake for the people she loves. What she learns is that answers are sometimes found where you’d never expect them, and that letting go of what you thought you wanted can be the surest path to a dream come true.
ANGEL is genuine, southern literary fiction. Set against the backdrop of a southern Appalachian town in the early 1970s, it is suspenseful, poignant, and often comical. Anyone who loves a wonderful story told in an authentic voice and full of memorable characters will take this book to their hearts.