That summer was “thorny . . . tainted with temptation and transgression, desertion and death.”
Part history and part mystery, Liquid Grace occurs in the 1940s at the beginning of WWII. Set in downtrodden eastern Oklahoma and the fertile valleys of central California, the story is told from the viewpoint of an older woman named Jane Guthrie and deals with an eventful summer when she was thirteen. In vivid detail, she charts her memories of train trips and fruit orchards, minstrel shows and mushrooms, harvest gypsies and rivers in a box—and her mother’s mysterious calling to help someone in need. An excited teenager when her mother and four siblings caught the train west, Jane is an adult by summer’s end, left on her own to get what remains of the unraveled family back to Oklahoma safely. By telling the story, Jane hopes that she can put to rest dark memories of that summer, which have haunted her into old age.