On Agate Hill: a novel

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Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2006 - Fiction - 367 pages
21 Reviews
Molly Petree, orphaned by the Civil War, is by her own definition "a spitfire and a burden. I do not care. My family is a dead family, and this is not my home, for I am a refugee girl."

Raised in the ruins of a once prosperous plantation on Agate Hill in North Carolina, she's a refugee who has no interest in self-pity. To document her headstrong life, she collects its artifacts—her lifelong diaries, letters, poems, songs, newspaper clippings, court records, marbles, rocks, dolls, bones (some human, some not).

When a mysterious benefactor appears out of her father's past to rescue her, teenaged Molly Petree never looks back. Taking what she is offered, she saves herself and then risks everything to hold true to her nature and to true love. She casts aside two prosperous, well-born suitors to marry a dashing—and philandering—mountaineer only to be accused of his murder. The end of Molly Petree's story is as unpredictable and as passionate as her own wide-open heart.

Spanning half a century, Lee Smith's portrait of a fiery Southern woman recalls the South from Reconstruction to the Roaring Twenties—and, in the process, gives us Molly Petree, living and breathing, gripping the reader's arm as the story unfolds.

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User Review  - nmaners - LibraryThing

This book is interesting as it is told through journal entries. The story begins as Molly is a young girl living with extended family members after the Civil War. The book gives some insight to the ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - dkhiggin - LibraryThing

Yet another book I couldn't wait to be done with! I never felt connected to the characters in this story and I didn't care for the construct of telling the story via diary entries, letters and court testimony. Read full review


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About the author (2006)

Lee Smith is a novelist, short story writer, and educator. She was born in 1944 in Grundy, Virginia. Smith attended Hollins College in Roanoke, Virginia. In her senior year at Hollins, Smith entered a Book-of-the-Month Club contest, submitting a draft of a novel called The Last Day the Dog Bushes Bloomed. The book, one of 12 entries to receive a fellowship, was published in 1968. Smith wrote reviews for local papers and continued to write short stories. Smith received O. Henry Awards in 1978 and 1980 and in 1981, her first collection of short stories, Cakewalk, was published. Smith taught at North Carolina State University. Her novel, Oral History, published in 1983, was a Book-of-the-Month Club featured selection. Smith has received the Lila Wallace/Reader's Digest Award, the Robert Penn Warren Prize for Fiction, the North Carolina Award for Fiction, and the Academy Award in Literature presented by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

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