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Publisher's Summary

Award-winning, New York Times best-selling novelist Sharyn McCrumb crafts absorbing, lyrical tales featuring the rich culture and lore of Appalachia. In the compelling The Ballad of Frankie Silver, she deftly weaves past and present with legend and truth to create a suspenseful portrait of tragic death.

As a convicted killer awaits execution in Tennessee, Sheriff Spencer Arrowood wonders if he arrested the right man years ago. Searching for answers, he discovers shocking parallels with a case more than a century old, the controversial hanging of a 19-year-old North Carolina woman. Suddenly he finds himself in a frantic struggle to stop history from repeating itself.

Colorful Appalachian characters step from the pages with Sharyn McCrumb's masterful storytelling and Barbara Rosenblat and Jeff Woodman¿s dramatic dual narration.

©1998 Sharyn McCrumb; (P)1998 Recorded Books, LLC

Critic Reviews

"McCrumb writes with quiet fire and maybe a little mountain magic. Like every true storyteller, she has the Sight." (The New York Times Book Review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Story

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  • Overall
  • Daniel
  • Charlottesville, VA, USA
  • 10-01-04

A nice little change of pace.

Do not worry, the song at the start does not last the entire book.

The narrators do a fine job, maintaining a slower pace than I usually enjoy, but one suited to the story, timeframes and settings.

The story itself takes a bit of time to fully develope, as the two storylines are so very far apart. In fact, it really was not until the very last few "pages" that it all came together nicely.

The only down note for me was the middle part of the book took too long, dragging out the final part of "Frankies" story.

None the less, I would recommend this for someone looking for an easy paced, but diffferent type of story.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jane
  • Purchase, NY, USA
  • 01-23-08

I love fiction grounded in history

What a terrific audiobook. Both readers are excellent, they did a great job. It was a useful device to separate the story lines. Since the Ballad of Frankie Silver is based on a true story, I was delighted to find more information about it on the Net, including a 40 minute film based upon the story behind the ballad, produced by UNC. What a delight, there are pictures of the hamlet and the Silver cabin, which is still standing and still owned by the family. McCrumb did a wonderful job recounting the death of Frankie Silver, her research seems accurate. Then she took the story and interwove it with a modern day tale. I was sorry when I finished the book, it will be a hard act to follow. I loved being transported back to the 1830s, I felt like I was in another place and time as I listened to that portion of the book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Ballad series always enjoyable.

Even though the mystery of the murders was somewhat predictable, this is still a very good book, especially for those reading the ballad series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A Present in Retrospect

The story of a young woman sentenced to die for the murder of her husband in 1830's western North Carolina is framed by a present-day story of an east Tennessee Sheriff who is considering the nature of guilt and innocence as a man he sent to prison is set to undergo Tennessee’s first execution in decades. Overall, the story is a great drama about the ambiguity of guilt, the fairness or lack thereof of capital punishment, and of ordinary people caught up in extraordinary events.
I’ve researched the case of Frankie Silver, a real person hanged for a real crime. The book has inspired me to want to visit Morganton, North Carolina and see the Silver case archives for myself. I am very happy with both the historical detail that Mccrumb wove into the story as well as with the ways in which she exercised her artistic license. The Ballad of Frankie Silver is a story that both entertains and causes one to think, and thus, it’s very much a success.