In a stark, troubling, yet ultimately triumphant celebration of self-determination, award-winning author A. Mannete Ansay re-creates a stifling world of guilt and pain, and the tormented souls who inhabit it. It is 1972 when circumstance carries Ellen Grier and her family back to Holly's Field, Wisconsin. Dutifully accompanying her newly unemployed husband, Ellen has brought her two children into the home of her in-laws on Vinegar Hill - a loveless house suffused with the settling dust of bitterness and routine -- where calculated cruelty is a way of life preserved and perpetuated in the service of a rigid, exacting and angry God. Behind a facade of false piety, there are sins and secrets in this place that could crush a vibrant young woman's passionate spirit. And here Ellen must find the strength to endure, change, and grow in the all-pervading darkness that threatens to destroy everything she is and everyone she loves.
After the dishes are washed and put away, Ellen bundles up James's coat,
because it is warmer than her own, and goes into the living room, where he
and Fritz and Mary?Margaret are watching TV. It's a comfortable room with
moss?colored carpet, Fritz's La?Z?Boy, Mary?Margaret's embroidered parlor
chair, and a long rectangular picture of the Last Supper, done in somber
golds and greens. Beside the TV, Mary?Margaret's piano shines with lemon
oil. Amy and Herbert are sitting on the floor, pretending to do their
homework with their books spread out in front of them. But their eyes are
wide and glassy. They are staring at the screen. They look down quickly when
Ellen appears, shapeless as a boulder, the coat sleeves so long that just
her fingertips show.
"I'm going for a walk," she says.
'Why?" Herbert says.
"I need the exercise," she says, although that is not the only reason. She ...
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