About the Book

This is a story of place, in the tradition of Southern fiction,
with vivid images of Arkansas and the values of small-town life

It is 1990, the stock market is soaring and Lee Addison is on a fast track to success in Silicon Valley. Just out of law school with a job lined up at one of the best firms in the Bay Area, he is positioned to join the ranks of young elites who will shape the 21st century.

But standing between him and his shining future is a promise to spend the summer back home in Riverton, Arkansas.

He is unprepared for the siren pull his hometown still holds on his heart, as he grapples with his sister's troubled adolescence, ethical questions relating to the drowning death of a black youth and the weight of his ancestral legacy.

To make matters worse, the allure of a rekindled relationship with Annie Rayburn threatens to disrupt his carefully planned future.

It is a tale of crisis and survival and the universal struggle to tap into values that will hold fast against the uncertainties of time.

Winner, General Fiction, 2013 USA Book News Awards


Winner, General Fiction, 2013 USA Book News Awards

Winner, North Texas Book Festival

Honorable Mention, San Francisco Book Festival

"With even-handed empathy and great skill, Sterling shows us one culture straining under the weight of its history and another one reinventing itself at land's end in California. A fascinating read with unforgettable characters."

—Professor Barbara Babcock, Stanford Law School Crown Professor of Law Emerita
and author of The Trials of Clara Foltz: Woman Lawyer

"A richly-told saga of the complexities and contradictions that play out over the course of one hot, humid summer in a small town in Arkansas."

—Diana Richmond, author of Some Other Time

"...the author uses stunning descriptive text, placing radiant images in the reader's mind."

—Kirkus Reviews

"With roots in Arkansas and a voice reminiscent of Carson McCullers, Sterling brings to life a uniquely Southern reconciliation of family, race and religion."

—Sherry Laymon, author of Fearless: John L. McClellan, United States Senator

"This is a compelling book which I literally couldn't put down. While telling an intriguing story it touches on real life issues that we all wrestle with: understanding our roots, how historical events impact individuals and families, how we deal with life's unexpected events, the role of religion in our lives, and when to follow our hearts. It is entertaining but also prompts the reader (at least this one) into some serious self- examination."

—John Benner