Emma Garnet, the heroine of Kaye Gibbons's sixth novel, takes the reader on a Southern journey through place and time, from 1842 to 1900. We see her first as a plantation owner's daughter, pampered by servants yet self-taught in subjects not then in the woman's sphere. As a girl, she does not question the South's peculiar institution, but gradually she recognizes the brutality of slavery. Still, during the Civil War, she works tirelessly in a Southern military hospital, ministering to the wounded out of her fervent sense of loyalty to the South.Throughout the conflict Emma Garnet contains her own warring impulses: her love of the Old South and her hatred of the way it reduces people to chattel. After the war, Emma Garnet attempts to reconcile herself to its trail of death and devastation by moving North, where, she believes, her answers lie. Her search takes twenty years, and only near the end of her life does she find peace. The miracle of her story is in her heart's transformation."Kaye Gibbons's novels have the compact detail of folk art, without any of the corn," James Wolcott wrote in The New Yorker. Her latest creation features the moving portrayal of a strong and proud heroine who digs beneath the quotidian surface of her life to uncover an extraordinary world.