Ashes to Water
Set in the 1980's, Ashes to Water is an atmospheric story of a small-town Florida murder, and one young woman's reluctant involvement in its resolution. When Annie Bartlett returns home to bury her murdered father, she confronts the woman arrested for the crime, only to discover reasons to fight for the woman's innocence. This pits her against her erratic and unwell sister, Leigh, whose very survival may depend on a guilty verdict. Annie soon becomes snarled in the social and political dynamics of the town, a wrenching attraction to her old boyfriend, and the emotionally difficult business of sorting out her estranged father's tangled past. Obstructing Annie further are "visits" from her mother, who drowned in Widow Lake when Annie was nine. As her attempts to solve her father's murder lead to more bloodshed, Annie finds herself a suspect in a plot not of her making, and a threat to the town's movers and shakers, suddenly very anxious to see her gone. When Annie's father is finally laid to rest in the lake that claimed her mother, Annie glimpses in his sinking ashes the flashing glints of hope and healing. While it stands alone, Ashes to Water continues the story of Annie Bartlett, who grew up in Rules of the Lake, Ziegler's collection of linked short stories set in pre-Disney Florida. Irene Ziegler is an accomplished actor and the author of Rules of the Lake and Full Plates, a play. She grew up in central Florida and now lives with her family in Virginia. She founded and directs Virginia Arts & Letters LIVE in Richmond. She has a wolf-dog, Maya, who howls at the distant barking of distant cousins.