On a muggy, late August afternoon in 1936, somewhere along the banks of Greasy Creek, Life found Grace—walking the dusty mile between work and home in a brand new pair of leather kitten-heeled pumps, blond curls bouncing in the sun. Two weeks later, Lifie Jay Preston and Grace Mollette married, a union that lasted until their deaths fifty-eight years later. There was something about them, their daughter Linda would discover, a kind of radiance and love of living that would mark them in the memories of every person they encountered—a song that resonates years after their passing.
Songs of Life and Grace is their story, told by the daughter whose own life grew out of their loving ministries and Appalachian sensibilities. Linda Scott DeRosier, the celebrated author of Creeker: A Woman's Journey, draws on family letters and lore, interviews, and her own recollections to reach a better understanding of her parents and the families that formed them both. Along the way, she introduces an unforgettable cast of characters: the formidable Grandma Emmy; Uncle Burns, an infamous ladies' man; helpless and simple Aunt Jo; and gentle Pop Pop, who could peel an apple in one long, unbroken spiral.
A stirring, honest look at Appalachia and a tribute to the unbreakable bonds of family, Songs of Life and Grace establishes DeRosier as one of the most vital and exciting new voices of the American South.
A native of eastern Kentucky, Linda Scott DeRosier is professor of psychology at Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Montana.
I have good news for the legions of fans who loved Creeker. Songs of Life and Grace is better. DeRosier writes with a fearless poignancy that results in not only a loving tribute to her own family, but to all families—mine and yours.
We can always take her truths to heart because she sings so sweet. A book to read and re-read, to cherish, to teach.