WINNER OF THE SARTON BOOK AWARD.
It has been a long and difficult year for the Decker family, especially for sixteen-year-old Brooke. Her grades have plummeted. She deliberately breaks curfew. She makes out with boys she hardly knows.
And now her father has totally lost it. When Tim Decker signs up his family of three to be contestants on a Hollywood reality show, Brooke’s life turns upside down. The place: The North Carolina backcountry. The year: 1861.
Brooke is forced to trade in her Victoria’s Secret bra for a rib-cracking corset, her comfy jeans for an ugly farm dress, and her private bathroom for an outhouse. Television cameras will follow her every move as she lives the grueling life of a mid-nineteenth-century farm girl: milking a cow, churning butter, fetching water countless times a day, and riding in a horse-drawn wagon along a rutted road to spend pennies in town.
This will be Brooke’s life for four awful months. Unless, of course, she breaks the rules and the producers kick her off the show…
Other families are scattered throughout Sweet Sugar Gap. The snotty Prudence Miller soon becomes Brooke’s rival. Wendell Murphy, who works at the local mercantile, is instantly smitten with Brooke–but also makes her suspicious. Does the only cute boy in town really like her, or is he merely showing off for the cameras?
Brooke Decker may just have to find a way to make it in the backcountry, leaving behind the modern frills she can’t live without. But can a young girl’s wishful heart surrender to a time and place she believes she can never call home?
Leslie Tall Manning is an award-winning novelist who loves writing about grown-ups who crave change and often discover it in ways they never expected (GAGA and MAGGIE’s DREAM). She also writes about teenagers who believe in independence, often stumbling into it headfirst (UPSIDE DOWN IN A LAURA INGALLS TOWN). As a private English tutor and writing specialist, Leslie spends her evenings working with students of all ages, and her days working on her own writing projects. When she isn’t clacking away at the computer keys or conducting research for her books, she loves traveling with her artist husband. She is happily represented by the TriadaUS Literary Agency.
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