February 13, 2000

Unto These Hills, by Emily Sue Harvey

Unto These Hills
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was particularly interested in this story since I’m a South Carolina gal, and it did not disappoint. The setting of this book came alive and became such a huge part of the story. Set in the mill hill town of Startex, SC, we follow the decline of the factory and its surrounding town over the course of several decades.

Sunny works to overcome the stereotypes and family baggage she faces, hoping to rise above what those around her expect her to turn out to be. With good intentions and a well-meaning heart, she makes some bad decisions that bring about horrible consequences. Throughout the story, we watch her try to correct or learn to live with these consequences, often making bigger messes. I identified with her to an extent, not just because she grew up in a small town in South Carolina, but because she felt responsible for those around her. She tried to keep her family and friends out of trouble and to make decisions that would not bring hardships to others.

Not all of the story lines resolved in a feel-good way, but the book did feel real. I was particularly happy with the dialogue among the characters. Often when I’m reading, I can’t help but think, “She’d never have used those words,” or “That phrase is out of place with this person.” In this book, though, the conversations seemed very believable and not at all stiff. I liked the message of forgiveness and redemption, and would recommend this book. Beware of getting this one for teen girls, however, as there are numerous incidences of sexual abuse with rather graphic descriptions.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the NetGalley book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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