The Moonshiner's Daughter

The Moonshiner's Daughter

by Donna Everhart


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Set in North Carolina in 1960 and brimming with authenticity and grit, The Moonshiner’s Daughter evokes the singular life of sixteen-year-old Jessie Sasser, a young woman determined to escape her family’s past . . .
Generations of Sassers have made moonshine in the Brushy Mountains of Wilkes County, North Carolina. Their history is recorded in a leather-bound journal that belongs to Jessie Sasser’s daddy, but Jessie wants no part of it. As far as she’s concerned, moonshine caused her mother’s death a dozen years ago.
Her father refuses to speak about her mama, or about the day she died. But Jessie has a gnawing hunger for the truth—one that compels her to seek comfort in food. Yet all her self-destructive behavior seems to do is feed what her school’s gruff but compassionate nurse describes as the “monster” inside Jessie.
Resenting her father’s insistence that moonshining runs in her veins, Jessie makes a plan to destroy the stills, using their neighbors as scapegoats. Instead, her scheme escalates an old rivalry and reveals long-held grudges. As she endeavors to right wrongs old and new, Jessie’s loyalties will bring her to unexpected revelations about her family, her strengths—and a legacy that may provide her with the answers she has been longing for.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781496717023
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 12/31/2019
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 75,203
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Donna Everhart is a USA Today bestselling author who writes stories of family hardship and troubled times in a bygone South. A native of North Carolina, she resides in her home state with her husband and their tiny heart-stealing Yorkshire terrier, Mister. Readers can visit her at

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The Moonshiner's Daughter 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
The-Geeky-Bibliophile 5 days ago
Jessie Sasser was four years old when her Mama died, and she blames her Daddy, Easton, for it. The way she sees it, if her Daddy wasn’t obsessed with making moonshine—just like all the Sassers that came before him—her Mama might still be alive. Instead, all she has left of her is the horrifying memory of seeing her engulfed in flames. Making moonshine is in her veins, or so Easton says, and her younger brother Merritt agrees… but they’re both wrong. Jessie hates moonshine, and she’s come up with a plan to destroy all of her Daddy’s stills… not knowing her actions would lead to terrible consequences that would touch the lives of everyone closest to her. “The only memory I have of Mama, she was on fire.” That is how you hook your readers from the very first line—and I was well and truly hooked from there on out. Readers see everything through Jessie’s eyes, learning about past and present events that happen in the story through her narration. It’s clear right from the start that Jessie remains profoundly affected by the loss of her mother, the pain of that loss made worse by the horrific way she died. In the earliest parts of the story, Jessie asks questions about her mother repeatedly, but is stonewalled not only by Easton, but her Uncle Virgil, as well, who insists it isn’t his place to tell her anything. Denied the answers she craves and forced to help make the moonshine she despises, Jessie turns to coping methods that are as obsessive as they are dangerous. I was immediately drawn to Jessie’s character. By the time I’d finished reading the first chapter, I felt fiercely protective of her. Every time something troubling was happening that either focused directly on Jessie, or affected her deeply, I’d have to pause for a moment before moving on. Each new tribulation she faced weighed heavily on my heart, and even when she rose to the occasion and faced head on, I couldn’t help but wonder just how much that poor girl could take. Jessie was the quintessential dichotomy of strength and fragility—always pushing forward and doing what she must, even when she had to fight her own weaknesses or self-doubt in order to do it. Betrayal lies at the heart of this story. It is a recurring theme that comes from both expected and unexpected sources, and drives a large portion of the story forward. Justice and injustice were accompanying motifs, brought into sharp focus when the Sasser family was harassed by rival bootleggers. An ordinary family would be able to turn to the law for help, but how can you get justice when you, yourself, are also guilty of criminal acts? What can you do, when you must deny yourself the help you would otherwise feel safe to seek? I came away from this story feeling as if I’d walked alongside Jessie every step of the way. Whether she tending the stills, fighting adversities, or struggling with her inner demons, I was there. I felt her anger and frustration, her worries and fears. I could have wept with pride at her triumphs, because when they came, it meant the world to me in that moment. I don’t think I’ll ever forget Jessie Sasser, and part of that is because of the way the book ended. I wish I could discuss that ending in this review, but of course, I can’t. I’ll just say that it took my breath away, without explaining why. Everhart has once again written a deeply moving story with richly imagined characters and situations that prove to be infinitely fascinating. Highly recommended.
Nursebookie 7 days ago
Moonshiner’s Daughter by Donna Everhart This is an amazing story set in North Carolina 1960, where a young woman is navigating the loss of her mother, and torn between the morality of her family’s legacy and the money they earn that puts food on their table. When she was only four years old, Jessie Sasser witnessed the death of her mother, burning alive from what she understands to be caused by their family’s Moonshine business. Her father refuses to talk about it. Her father is convinced that moonshining runs in their blood as they are well known in those parts to having the best moonshine. Jessie would not have anything to do with the money they earn - refusing to eat or even buying much needed clothes! Determined to destroy the stills, her plans backfire when old rivalry escalates. This is the first book I have read from Donna Everhart and what a great experience it was to read her amazing and unique characters full of grit, passion and strength. The writing is solid and the plot kept my interest and fingers turning those pages. It was an entertaining read for me that I really enjoyed!
Svara 11 days ago
This could very well be the best book of the year! I could not put it down. The writing is so beautifully expressive. You are there experiencing and seeing it are at the stills, multiple fires, fights, moonshine runs, tears and happiness. A different type read and so factual you learn about another way of life. Can't say how much I loved this book!
Anonymous 13 days ago
Set in 1960's North Carolina. Jessie Sasser's family has a long legacy of making and running moonshine on Shine Mountain. Seeing her mother die a horrific death when she was very young has Jessie dead set against the family business. It leaves her with many questions about her mother and a eating disorder. Running shine isn't easy, even with Sally Sue a rocket of a car. Mayhem,rivalry and the revenuers takes it's toll on this family leaving Jessie with a choice to make about her family legacy. I was hooked by the first page and an ending I never saw coming. Everhart is a gifted writer that captures the magic and the madness of the gritty south with hauntingly beautiful stories that linger. This is the book all the book clubs will be talking about in 2020. I highly recommend. Dawnny-BookGypsy Novels N Latte Book Club Hudson Valley
Shelley-S-Reviewer 14 days ago
ALL THE STARS! I was really looking forward to what Donna Everhart would do after The Forgiving Kind. Wow! The prose is eloquent, easy to read, incredibly well researched, and believable. Ms. Everhart knows her subject matter in her heart and writes in a way to bring her own light to a difficult and complicated story. She truly has a gift for creating her characters and making the reader care about them. From the very first page, I was eager to spend time with Jessie and the rest of the Sasser family. They were realistic, and became characters I cared about. A story of growth. Though sometimes painful, always necessary. And the nudge to do so can come from unexpected places. Just a perfect read! I fell in love with the all the characters and was sad when I came to the end. Compelling. Lovely. Human. Real. Donna Everhart's The Moonshiner's Daughter is a story that is pertinent even today, a distinctive work at once engaging and provocative. Such a gifted writer.
Rachel_Denise01 17 days ago
The Moonshiner’s Daughter by Donna Everhart is an all-encompassing Southern Historical Fiction novel that is one of those once in a blue moon novels that only comes around once in a while that makes one stop and think, like actually contemplate life. This novel is amazing. We see Jessie Sasser a 16 y/o misunderstood teenager growing up in the rural foothills of NC in 1960 with her collection of outcast family members whom all work in the “family business” of moonshine and her life over the next 2 years. This is a story about so much. It is a coming of age story, a story of personal angst and demons, a story of bulimia and ED, a story of acceptance, a story of wanting to fit in, but yet not wanting to be a part of the crowd, a story of being lost only to finally find what one was looking for all along at the bitter end, and a story of just wanting to be loved. My heart goes out to Jessie. I cried with her, and hurt along with her through her journey. I felt pride when she grew up and came into her own. I felt her losses as she did, as well as her triumphs. This was a hard story to read, so raw, rough, and real, but worth every moment. The ending is bittersweet, imperfect, like life itself is, and was fitting for Jessie’s journey. This novel will stick with me for many days to come. Just stunning. 5/5 stars
PhyllisJonesPisanelli 18 days ago
“The Moonshiner’s Daughter” by Donna Everhart was a fabulous novel! When I started this book, I wasn’t sure I was going to like it and then about 10% into it,I couldn’t put it down. It grabbed me and sucked me right into that rollercoaster of a story. Oh my goodness you just have to go along for the ride. I wanted to hug Jessie Sasser. She was a girl who thought she knew what she stood for and fought for her convictions with all of her might. I was right there rooting for her through the whole story. I loved the school nurse Mrs. Brewer. It felt like she was the only one that took an interest in Jessie a majority of the time. Have you ever put a book down because you thought you knew how it was going to end and you didn’t want to see it end that way? I did with this book. About an hour later, I couldn’t stand it any longer and I had to know how it all wound up. I don’t want to give away the ending but, it was a perfect ending to the story. This book was so different than what I expected and I highly recommend it! I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
lsmoore_43 18 days ago
THE MOONSHINER’S DAUGHTER by Donna Everhart I love Donna Everhart’s writing. Her books always leave me with many feelings. This one left me in tears. From the start to the end it’s a good story. Lots of history and family involved. Also the young girl in the book has an eating disorder. No one seems to notice this though. After losing her mother Jessie Sasser swore she would have nothing to do with the moon shining business. She blamed it and her daddy for her mother’s death. She hated anything and everything to do with moon shining. He daddy was determined that she would help though and tried to make her understand that it was what kept them in a home and with food to eat. She didn’t want anything, not even the food, that came from moonshining though. To her it was pure evil. Lots of things happen in this book that will keep you turning the pages. From family members turning on each other in ways that cost them plenty to kids being bullied in school. It was a very well written story and obviously well researched. I’m never disappointed in a book by this author and this one is possible my favorite one yet. It certainly made me cry in many places and laugh in a few too. Most of the characters are so likable and so well developed. There are some you won’t like at all for obvious reasons. I absolutely loved Mrs Brewer. She was like the most helpful person to the Sasser children when they needed it most. The ending left me in big tears but it somehow seemed just right. This book held a bit of a mystery for a while but you will find answers too. I did at least. Thank you to #NetGalley, #Kensington and #DonnaEverhart for this ARC. This is my own review. I give it a huge 5 stars and a very high recommendation.
lauriesophee 18 days ago
Jessie Sasser is the main character in this well written historical fiction novel. Taking place in the mountains of North Carolina, Jessie and her family have long made their living in the "moonshine" business. Jessie absolutely despises this. Why? Her mama died when Jessie was four and all that she can recall is that her death was caused by this awful illegal line of work at the stills. When she asks her dad, he refuses to talk about her mother or give her any answers about her death. The "need to know" causes severe psychological troubles for this teenager and a slow self destruction of oneself as well as anger and hurt in her family. The descriptions in this book are amazing! I felt as though I was walking in the woods to the stills, smelling the moonshine and living back in the 1960's. The suspense at times had me racing through the pages I could feel Jessie's pain and lack of power as she tried to gain control of her life in her own way.
MKF 18 days ago
Amazingly atmospheric novel with an incredible character in Jessie. This starts hard, with the death of Jessie's mother in a horrible way. Fast forward to 1961, when Jessie is 16 years old and struggling with her father, his moon shining, and herself. She's got an eating disorder that will only get worse, one friend who she will lose and a hatred of her family's legacy. Set in North Carolina, this has wonderful sense of place, even when dreadful things, such as a car being run off the road, happen. Jessie's life is difficult and she makes some ill considered choices (or are they?). Only one person- certainly not in her family (especially not her hateful aunt and uncle) sees her for what she is and can become- Mrs Brewster, the school nurse, who steps in and acts as a (more or less) responsible adult when Jessie and then her younger brother Merritt need one. I'd love to know what was in the tea she gave Jessie. This has so many ups and downs (mostly a lot of downs) and it's hard to review without spoilers. My only quibble is with the epilogue, part of which came out of the blue and without explanation (no spoilers!). It's well written, engaging, and kept me turning the pages. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. Highly recommend not only as a coming of age story but also a sensitive Southern novel about moon shine and family.