In the waning years of the 19th century, Bessie Daniels grows up in the small town of Hot Springs in western North Carolina. Secure in the love of her father, resistant to her mother's desire that she be a proper Southern belle, Bessie is determined to forge her own way in life. Or, as her Cherokee great-grandmother Elisi puts it, to be a whistling woman. Life, however, has a few surprises in store for Bessie....
"Stunning Southern Historical Fiction...Damn Bess!"
In August 1969, medical student Lizzie Baker sets off on a trip to Woodstock with her boyfriend and two other couples. When their van breaks down outside of Morganton, North Carolina, the group decides to hike up nearby Brown Mountain while they wait for the repairs to be finished. Lizzie's interest in nature prompts her to go on a walk by herself, hoping to get a glimpse of the legendary Brown Mountain Lights. When she unexpectedly encounters one, she naively reaches out to touch it and is thrown back in time to a place and lifestyle she comes to hate.
In the dawning years of the 20th century, Bessie Daniels leaves her home town of Hot Springs and travels east over the mountains to live with her new husband Fletcher Elliott in the Broad River section of North Carolina. In 1906, they purchase 400 acres of the old Zachariah Solomon Plantation which includes a small house with a shack beside it, a branch of Cedar Creek and a row of dilapidated slave cabins... And ghosts.
"Southern Mountain Folk . . . Just Like Family"
In the mid-1920s, Bessie Elliott and her husband Fletcher take in their six-year-old nephew John. They are determined to give him a warm and secure home on Stone Mountain, a place where he will feel loved and know he is always welcome. Having a child brings many changes to their daily life and even more for John, but it isn't long before he feels completely at home with his aunt and uncle.
In a dystopian future, an epic battle between the sexes will determine who lives and who dies. After the Blue Pox pandemic wipes out 99.99 percent of males and 99.95 percent of females, the majority under the age of 50,18-year-old Madison wanders the countryside, lost and alone. She joins forces with Katherine, a former anthropologist, in search of a safe place to live, and the two find a group of women gathered on the campus of a small college in East Tennessee.