The Turner family’s saga of life and conflict begins in the South¬ern cotton mill village where several members of the family share one of the small rented company houses that surrounds the mam¬moth Banner Cotton Mill located in Pine Valley North Carolina. Emma Lee rules the roost holding the family together for Cindy aged seven and Punkie almost two who have been abandoned by their mother Emma Lee’s cousin. Added to the mix are her older brother Doc a younger sister Mavis and her alcoholic husband and their younger brother Johnny B. who sleeps there but is rarely home. The eldest member of the clan is Aunt Ellie still working at the mill days and tending her nine cats in the evening. The mill owners run the village like a serfdom and the Turner family struggles to hold on to their dreams despite the oppression by the owners and the low wages earned at the mill. Eventually the Turners unite and rebel. Mirroring the true plight of those who labored in Southern cot¬ton mills hard times are almost always there for the Turners. But the love and encouragement of family makes their lives bearable as they struggle on hoping for a better tomorrow.
Imbued with mystery and romance, this provocative novel pays homage to Naomi Wise, an orphan who lived in Randolph County, North Carolina during the early 1800s. Like Naomi, author Sandra Redding grew up near the banks of Deep River. There, as a child, she heard the sad tales and haunting songs describing how the orphan was murdered by devious Jonathan Lewis, the man who promised to marry her. The author revives feisty Naomi on these pages. Possessing neither family nor dowry she works on a farm from dawn to dusk to survive. Though men succumb to her charms, her free spirit offends the delicate sensibilities of many women. As Mary Ruth, a farm wife who migrated from Pennsylvania, and Arabelle, an escaped slave, attempt to guide Naomi from harm’s way, the three women bond, bravely sharing sorrows and savoring triumphs.