Excerpt from Vinegar Hill by A Manette Ansay, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Vinegar Hill

by A Manette Ansay

Vinegar Hill
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Nov 1999, 240 pages
    Nov 1999, 240 pages

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

"Think what we could do with this money," James had said their last night in the house. They had sold their wedding bed and were lying on a pallet of blankets with the children. "We could take a trip. To Florida maybe. No snow; they say it's cheap to live. We could get jobs"

"They say they need teachers in the South," Ellen said eagerly.

James looked at her and laughed. "You sound like you're serious," he said.

"Aren't you?"

James stopped laughing. "Of course I'm not serious," he said. "What could you possibly be thinking of?"

She parts the curtains and cups her hand to the window, trying to replace the snowy pines with palm trees and hibiscus. She cannot imagine the neighbor's Santa glowing in the warm, moist Florida night, the children growing up with tanned skin and soft southern drawls. Saint Michael's chimes ten o'clock; she smooths the curtains closed and goes down the hall to make sure the children are sleeping. Inside their room, the air is sour. Herbert is curled up in Amy's bed. When he hears Ellen, he sits bolt upright and turns on the small lamp beside the bed.

"I thought you were dead," he says. His eyes are wide and terrible.

"I told you she wasn't," Amy says. Her face is in her pillow; she doesn't move.

Ellen picks Herbert up and carries him to his own bed. "What made you think I was dead?" she says.

"You went out in the dark."

"There's nothing in the dark that isn't there in the light. There's nothing to be afraid of." She kisses him, tucks the blankets around his shoulders. "See?" She points to the lamp shade, which is decorated with angels. "Your guardian angel is watching over you, just like my guardian angel watches over me. Your guardian angel will follow you into your dreams and make them beautiful." Her voice is low and soft, a lullaby. Already his eyes are closing,

"What is he so afraid of?" she whispers to Amy. Amy still hasn't moved; now she rolls over and stares at Ellen angrily. This child is no toy.

"I'm not afraid," Amy says.

"Of what?" Ellen says. "How can I know if you won't tell me?"

Amy closes her eyes and does not say anything. She puffs away when Ellen kisses her good night. It is probably nothing. It is probably everything. It has been a difficult year for them all. Ellen watches her as she pretends to sleep, clutching her long braid in her fists.

Copyright 1998 by A. Manette Ansay. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Avon Books.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Crossing the Horizon
    Crossing the Horizon
    by Laurie Notaro
    In Crossing the Horizon, Laurie Notaro takes us back to a time when flying was a rare and risky ...
  • Book Jacket
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
  • Book Jacket: Of Arms and Artists
    Of Arms and Artists
    by Paul Staiti
    In the late eighteenth-century, the United States of America was still an emerging country, ...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Next
    by Stephanie Gangi

    Fast-paced, wickedly observant, and haunting in the best sense of the word.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.