When Lloyd Cotton hears that Sheila Barnes is consistently beaten by her daddy, he offers her a room and a job cleaning up around his dairy farm. Despite physical deformity, poverty, and years of abuse, Sheila manages to see the silver lining in every cloud–and her bright spirit touches everyone in the Cotton family, including young Annette who finds an enchanting Best Friend. Stoney Barnes, the handsome boy who milks the cows, is especially taken with Sheila. And when they marry, it seems that God has finally given her the good graces she deserves.But in a cruel twist of fate, Sheila’s body is found in the cornfields. Soon the little town of Zebulon, Mississippi, is awash in scandal. Who would want the innocent young woman dead? Her alcoholic father, her opinionated husband, or perhaps the faithfully married Lloyd Cotton, about whom unsavory rumors swirl? Surprising secrets will crack open a rural community, and more than one family will suffer in the telling.
This is one book that I thought about a lot when I wasn't actually reading it. The story is narrated by different characters in each chapter. This way you get different views of what is going on, which adds so much to the story.Set in a small town in rural Mississippi just before WWII, it is the story of the death of a young girl, and the events leading up to it.
Sheila Barnes is a character that you can't help but to fall in love with. She comes to work at Lloyd Cotton's dairy farm, and becomes best friends with Lloyd's daughter Annette. The two are like sisters, sharing secrets. Sheila is poor and uneducated, but her wisdom is valuable and wise far beyond her years. Everyone that meets her is transformed by her....she is plain, and has a hump on her back, but after talking with her, no one notices those things....only Sheila's unconventional outlook on life. To Sheila, each day of life is a gift to be treasured. Her outlook on life and love is as magical as she is...forever an innocent child in a cruel world.