I have to say I'm pretty sappy about books and movies, and I'd probably like any book that makes me cry in the first ten pages. We get a very good picture of the dynamic of the Dane family in less than a week of their lives in this book. Keziah tries to be a good mother to her kids with no money, and we see how much the 4 older kids care about and respect their mother, and Ezra and Matthias also try to fill in for their father following the death of him and the oldest son Urie. This novel is very different from Grafton's Kinsey Milhone alphabet series, which are a series of mysteries set in the 1980s in California. This novel would be classified as "literature" by those who would ignore the Milhones because they fall into the mystery genre. I enjoyed this novel, but I can see possibly why it went out of production. There is some very good writing, but there are things that verge on bizarre and almost science-fictional. I have a hard time understanding how the river could flood into the town and the water still be there two years later unless the town was built in a big hole. I also had a hard time completely following the fight scene between Mammaw and Web. Somehow his hand is on the floor in a position to be run over by her rocker, yet it sounds like she's still holding on to him because she grabs him to her right after that happens. She must be extremely strong if she can basically pick up a grown man off the floor. All the descriptions of Mammaw are so disgusting and creepy, like her kissing poor Hiram on the mouth and tasting like she ate a dead animal fur and all, and how she tries to suckle Web. Which reminds me, if she is telling the truth about Floyd bringing his mistresses home to have sex with them at his mother's cabin while she's there, that shows he had some serious problems, too. Then Ezra has to undress Mammaw, which would be bad enough for anyone to see their dead grandmother naked, but she's grossly overweight, has worn the same dress and not bathed in who knows how long, goes to the bathroom in a big jar, and had Web's vomit and a bit mark on her chest, although the last two things are not mentioned after the fight scene. Still, I'm left with a sense of satisfaction at the end, since the characters we're supposed to care about sound like they will live happily every after. At least, there should be enough money for food and clothing for the family, and Matthias is going to marry Mina Jo, and maybe she'll even grow out of being a spoiled brat. The two bad guys in this story, Mammaw and Web, are punnished, although in very odd ways. Those highbrow literary types would probably criticize this type of ending, but that's why books are sometimes better than real life, and the author is allowed to make up a future for the characters. I am grateful for one of Carolyn Hart's Death on Demand mysteries, or I would have never have even known this book existed. I read all the alphabet mysteries, but you wouldn't know from any of them or Grafton's website that she ever wrote anything else. Hart's book actually mentions Grafton's other early novel, The Lolly-Madonna War, which led me to Keziah Dane after looking it up. Both books should be easier to find.