Very interesting story about a cult-like church and a widow who's desperate to escape it. Miranda is relieved when she hears that her pastor wants to move the whole congregation to another state. She feels like this is finally her chance for herself and her six kids to be free of his control. She chooses her husband's half-brother Jack to be the guardian in case anything happens to her but she can't know that just a couple weeks later she will fall from the cliffs by her house and be seriously injured. Jack, a college professor, is surprised by a call out of the blue from his nephew that his mother is hurt and he's been named guardian of her six kids. He drops everything and heads from Chattanooga to Slades Creek, a couple hours away.
Jack is very shocked at their different way of life. They live pretty isolated from other people and the children are also homeschooled by their mother. They dress very old-fashioned, in colors of blue and gray, with the women and girls in long denim dresses and long braids wrapped around their heads. Jack has only met his sister-in-law and a couple of the kids once years ago, but he quickly comes to love all of them and doesn't want them to be controlled by this church anymore. Miranda doesn't dare be too rebellious to the pastor because he knows her secret and threatens to tell it if she doesn't go along with the move. She doesn't tell Jack that they're not leaving because she doesn't want to reveal the whole story. Jack constantly questions and pushes and wants Miranda to examine her beliefs, he introduces new experiences to the kids, and Miranda finds herself attracted to him, all of which makes her uncomfortable. But she also doesn't know what she would do without him.
This is the debut novel by Meg Moseley and it was very well-written. The characters are three-dimensional with real personalities and problems. Jack was an especially interesting character. It was hard for me to understand how someone could live in that kind of situation, with all the rules and regulations, but Meg did a good job of showing how someone could end up there and the struggle to get out. It was suspenseful without being too heavy. I would recommend this book to anyone and I look forward to reading whatever she comes out with in the future.