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When 17-year-old Norman Pelham departs his father's Vermont farm to join the Union army, he can little anticipate the incredulity and scorn that his return--accompanied by his former-slave bride--will elicit. The newlyweds make a go of country life, Leah's industry wins the locals' begrudging respect, and the two transact a fidelity that only rarely acknowledges their racial dissimilarities. Leah, however, who fled her native North Carolina after lashing out violently against a lifetime of abuse, believes an inescapable retribution stalks her. And so, beset with guilt and anxious to confront her own past, she briefly leaves Norman and their three children, throwing all five lives into disarray. Her desperation eventually reemerges in her youngest child, the volatile Jamie, who abandons farm life for bootlegging and rash romance. When his own ruthlessness undoes him, it falls to his son, Foster, to uncover the lingering mystery of Leah's life and death, as well as the obstinate racism that has stalked the Pelhams.
Throughout its pages, In the Fall suggests that identity consists of an undeniable duality--that although we can make of ourselves what we will, we can never completely efface what made us. Foster, upon returning to the farm his father had left years before, understands that it is "a world he was not even sure he wanted part of, and yet a part of it belonged to him by the simple fact of his existence." Unlike his grandmother, though, who found only a disillusioning misery in self-discovery, or his father, who simply shirked the quest, Foster is confident of redemption. Despite a few prolonged episodes and an occasionally portentous dialogue, Jeffrey Lent's debut is admirable, a sobering and painstaking chronicle of the persistence of tragedy and the irrefutability of hope. --Ben Guterson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Well written and totally absorbing story 3 Vermont generations marked by war, sacrifice and truthPublished 1 month ago by Jane McKenzie
An insight into life and times after the American Civil War. Deep emotional plot and a family striving to find their heritage.Published 3 months ago by Mary Ann Paterson
Jeffrey Lent is for readers who care about style. He is an American GREAT. The story is totally captivating too.Published 4 months ago by Upstate N.Y. teacher
I loved. This book. This is a book I could not put down. It kept me in suspense and wanting more. This is a story for historical fiction fans.Published 6 months ago by Seesay
I read this book when it first came out and it has stayed with me all these years, becoming one of the books against which I judge other books. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Sharon Hope
First of all, I did NOT finish this book. I just couldn't! It got off to a pretty good start but after one hundred and sixty pages when one of the main characters offs herself I... Read morePublished 8 months ago by ogenmatic