There are two wonderful heroines in this. I absolutely LOVED Ruth. She's a spunkier-than-all-get-out old lady whose home is in the Ozarks. She has visions and tries to interpret them and wants nothing more than to save her battered niece and find out what happened to her own sister Lola years ago.
"You ain't gonna find nothin' here but a skinny old woman with a tough hide. Now, git."
Ruth had never seen anything, man nor beast that she couldn't outsmart, outlast, and outfight if she tried.
"Give me enough skeins of yarn, and I can knit a slipcover for the Empire State Building."
And the niece, Ellen. She's beaten black and blue by her husband and her own mother doesn't even believe her, and when she attempts to go to a shelter, she finds herself back in his un-loving arms. What can she do? She has so much courage in what she does. As the story unfolds, we watch her, with Ruth's help, grow a backbone of steel, stand up for herself, and follow her dreams. I loved her in the end, absolutely loved her. I recommend all women read this book.
She would not be her mother, she would not be June Cleaver, and she'd be damned if she'd let a backwoods woman from Tremont, Mississippi, be her hero, no matter how many hit records Wynette had.
But this is not just a battered-woman story, or even the story of a woman escaping. It's also about the circus family. It's about a special-ed teacher. It's about a woman in the past who worked with tigers. However, I wish there had been more of that stuff--a lot more. I feel Lola's story was not strong enough, nor was there enough of it, to really have any relevance to the modern story. And the circus family's acceptance of Ellen and Ruth--it was so sudden. I imagine some time went by, but how much? There's so little interaction with the people before suddenly she's one of the family. And as for her being a special-ed teacher, what and when does she actually teach? There's all of three scenes with her school kids and except for one reading session, they just seem to play and all of a sudden, a boy who couldn't speak is speaking.
I actually wish this book was longer so it could have expanded more on all those bits.
But I still really enjoyed this novel and its theme. Battered women need to have hope and this book delivers that.
I received this via Netgalley.