Friday, May 4, 2018

Tucker's Way (Tucker #1), by David Johnson (author), Laural Merlington (narrator)

Brilliance Audio, June 2015 (original publication January 2012)

Tucker grew up grindingly poor, and horrifically abused by her father. Now, in the mid-1970s, she's raising her grandchildren, August, March, and only granddaughter April, on the same farm she grew up on. Her daughter, Mazie, is an irresponsible, mostly absent, mother, showing up for visits just often enough to disturb the peace of the little family.

Ella McDade has her own history of abuse, at the hands of her now ex-husband, Judge Jack McDade. She's just bought the old McDaniel house, just down the road from Tucker.

Judge Jack is Tucker's sworn enemy, the main threat to her custody of granddaughter April, who at six years old has never spoken a word.

Social workers think April retarded. Tucker, living with April daily, can see that she's very bright, can even read--but won't speak. When the order comes down in the fall that if April isn't speaking by the end of Christmas break, Tucker knows she has to find a way to change things--and the unlikely, tentative friendship between Tucker and Ella grows stronger as Ella works to provide the change April needs.

The conflicts between Tucker and Judge Jack, between Ella and Judge Jack, and the strained relationships between Tucker and daughter Mazie and Ella and son Cade, become sharper and more volatile, as past secrets start to find their way to the surface.

This was an absorbing, compelling story, as the rough, uneducated, sometimes intentionally crude Tucker is revealed as a deeper, more complex character, and Ella, having lived a privileged life with the advantages Tucker never had, but also with a dependence Tucker could never afford, discovers her own strength.

I really enjoyed this. Apparently there are more books about this pair of friends and their families. I may need to look for them!

Recommended.

I bought this audiobook.