The Moonshiner’s Daughter
Author: Donna Everhart
Publication Date: 31 December 2019
Genre: Adult Fiction – Historical Fiction
Publisher: Kensington Books
Set in North Carolina in 1960 and brimming with authenticity and grit, The Moonshiner’s Daughter evokes the singular life of sixteen-year-old Jessie Sasser, a young woman determined to escape her family’s past . . .
Generations of Sassers have made moonshine in the Brushy Mountains of Wilkes County, North Carolina. Their history is recorded in a leather-bound journal that belongs to Jessie Sasser’s daddy, but Jessie wants no part of it. As far as she’s concerned, moonshine caused her mother’s death a dozen years ago.
Her father refuses to speak about her mama, or about the day she died. But Jessie has a gnawing hunger for the truth–one that compels her to seek comfort in food. Yet all her self-destructive behavior seems to do is feed what her school’s gruff but compassionate nurse describes as the “monster” inside Jessie.
Resenting her father’s insistence that moonshining runs in her veins, Jessie makes a plan to destroy the stills, using their neighbors as scapegoats. Instead, her scheme escalates an old rivalry and reveals long-held grudges. As she endeavors to right wrongs old and new, Jessie’s loyalties will bring her to unexpected revelations about her family, her strengths–and a legacy that may provide her with the answers she has been longing for.
Set in the 1960s of North Carolina, Jessie Sasser comes from a line of moonshiners and moonshining essentially runs through their veins. When Jessie was four years old, she watched her mother burn to death from an accident with the stills. Her father refuses to discuss what happened. Now Jessie is torn with the tradition and stake her family has in moonshine business and the profits that put food on their table.
This story is an incredible coming of age story that is raw and full of grit. I loved following Jessie and her inner strength. Jessie battles with an eating disorder, which affects her vision of her appearance and self-esteem. The author did a fantastic job of approaching this topic in a tasteful manner that doesn’t feel like Jessie’s condition was placed into the plot for argument’s sake.
It was clear that this was a well researched novel with characters that really make this story come to life. Overall, if you love a good family drama that also dapples in historical fiction with a taste of the south then definitely pick this one up!
Thank you to Kensington Books and the author for providing a review copy. Thank you to Suzy from Suzy Approved Book Tours for my tour invite. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.