âBeth Webb Hart shares her knowledge [of the lowcountry] withskill, wisdom, and beauty.â
â Pat Conroy, author of ThePrince of Tides
When a business venture goes sour, Charleston blue-bloodsBilly and Dee DeLoach uproot their family and move into the caretakerâs cottageon what was once the family plantation estate on Edisto Island. While the restof her family falls to pieces, DeVeaux struggles to sustain them through herreluctant help and her stubborn hope.
Before the bankruptcy, the family had a graceful home in ahistoric Charleston neighborhood. Country clubs, cotillions, childhood friends,and a close-knit church group. Now theyâre living in a run-down cottage on anisland estate that is no longer in the family. DeVeaux has a restaurant job, acantankerous old truck, and mud on just about everything.
But something is wearing DeVeaux down. It's not living onthe island, which is actually kind of interesting. And it's not missing her oldfriends, who have developed an annoying fixation on boys. What really bothersDeVeaux is that being ruined has changed her dad into an ill-temperedjerk, and her mother just tiptoes around him. If the good Lord has a plan forsaving them, now might be a good time to start.
A gritty but gentle drawl of a story, Grace at Low Tide is atender and evocative portrait of a young girl embracing womanhood. With southernsociety as her backdrop, Beth Webb Hart paints for us a hard-luck familyscrabbling to find its heart again. It is a testimony to the small miracles oflove and loyalty--the gifts of grace that manage to keep us all afloat, even atour lowest ebb.
a lovely, gifted writer.
Critics of evangelical novels often talk about the dearth of literary fiction in the Christian market, but this debut from South Carolina native Hart comes close to that coveted adjective. DeVeaux DeLoach's Daddy has gone belly-up after one too many bad business deals, so the DeLoaches must quit their fancy Charleston digs for a small country cottage. DeVeaux has to pull out of her posh prep school and take a weekend job. Daddy grows progressively meaner throughout the book, screaming at the family, ordering DeVeaux's mother to get a job and cruelly mocking her plump physique. For her part, Mama is mainly worried that DeVeaux, now old enough to turn men's heads, remain chaste. DeVeaux is kept afloat by her Christian faith, a cousin and the youth group leader at her church. DeVeaux's charming narration is the book's greatest strength--readers will love DeVeaux like a sister by the end--and its greatest weakness, for she's still an adolescent but sounds implausibly wise for her age. Still, this is a promising novel by a lovely, gifted writer. (July 14)
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July 11, 2005
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