The Ballards live in the shadow of July Mountain. They are one step shy of overcoming the taint of poverty dogging the family since the Great Depression. During the excess of the modern 1980s, the Tennessee Valley still harbors a passing respect for the unexplainable and superstition. Roots cling to family trees like tendrils that tangle and tear to claim, not just birthrights, but bloodrights.
Folks tend to die around Little Debbie Ballard. She struggles to make sense of a world where the unspoken past and prejudice collide, where truth is no longer as simple as Daddy’s word, and cruel intentions transcend generations. Debbie must face the insidious legacy that haunts the women of her family, one by one.
How does a family escape a past that refuses to die?
A Gathering Misery
Some demons are of our own making; some make us.
A family teeters on the verge of collapse, wracked by a despair as scorching as the Alabama summer. Deborah Ballard, on the cusp of adolescence, is pushed away by her grieving parents into the overbearing arms of the grandmother who has vowed to straighten her out.
Hers is a family rooted to secrets, whose demons threaten to shatter a veneer of carefully-crafted control. It is a family tethered to a past that reaches beyond the grave.
Deborah is no stranger to death. A malevolence shrouds the women of her family, demanding a blood price from each daughter, generation by generation. Will Deborah be able to break the cycle of cruelty that mars the family name, or is she destined to be another pawn in the insidious legacy of Clemenceau’s daughters?