“Wonderful. ” —Carolyn See, Washington Post Book World
“Scot evokes a vivid sense of place in this haunting memoir set on the Iowa prairie. ” —Publishers Weekly
“Barbara Scot has written a book that many people dream of writing, but few accomplish—ferreting out of hidden family stories that all too often hold the keys to our identity. ” —Kathleen Norris, author of Dakota: A Spiritual Geography
“ [An] engaging and graceful memoir…Refreshingly honest.…The author sees her voyage into the past as an attempt to understand her mother's brave resolve in the face of public shame. Why, she asks, did this woman remain all her life in a small community, an abandoned wife, an object of pity? But Ms. Scot soon realizes that she is in the midst of unraveling much more than the story of her mother…These moments add up to a quiet confirmation of certain truths: that people are human and thus prone to human weakness, that men have been as oppressed as women in our society and that, despite the difficulties, it is possible to reinvent one's self and even to alter one's personal landscape. ” —Carol Shields, New York Times Book Review
“A bittersweet homecoming story, tracing the author's return in middle age to the puritanical farming community where she grew up. In Scotch Grove, Iowa, she tries to piece together the puzzle of her mother's loving stoicism in the face of her father's humiliating desertion and subsequent suicide…Scot's quietly earnest quest yields her valuable understanding of her mother's reticence and deeper appreciation of the mysteries of family connections and disconnections that can never be resolved. ” —Time
“What do you think? You don't understand. You'll never know how much. ” Barbara Scot's memoir begins with a trunk full of memories and her mother's cryptic letters about a marriage unraveling. Like a mystery detective, the author searches for the truth, which takes her back to the scene of a tragedy—to the farm her family lost and the close-knit and secretive community she left behind. In uncovering the secrets of her family, Scot comes to understand her own failed marriage.