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Library JournalIn the remarkable Ivy Rowe, Smith has conjured a character that chronicles 70 years of life centered in the Appalachian region of Virginia through letters written to family and friends. Born on a farm at the turn of the 20th century, Ivy has the heart and eye of a poet even though her life path follows a far more prosaic course. A mother before she wished to become one, she is soon tied to the land as a farmer’s wife, and other dreams are put away. Regardless of her fate, and she is witness to tragedy and great change in her own life and her wider circle, Ivy remains undaunted, writing letters that reflect her daily life, love of the landscape around her, and deep connections to family. By recording her life and those of others in her letters, and by filling those letters with a beautifully realized sense of time and place, Ivy becomes a storyteller and poet after all.
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