The year is 1931 and Lucy Richards Arnold-now a mother of a precocious four-year-old son-is in rural West Texas, teaching in the school where her husband, Josh, is principal and struggling to make a success of their farm during the bleak, hard times of the Great Depression. Out of this barren landscape, rich and colorful characters emerge as if from a fertile land. Before the year's end, Lucy is faced with a loss of such magnitude that she must struggle to find a way to recapture the joy in her very existence.
In 1915 it has been three years since Lucy Richards left her teaching post in West Texas and returned home where she is busy being indispensable to her eccentric mother, keeping her Aunt Catherine comfortable, and taking on many of the chores her very pregnant sister no longer feels up to. She decides to choose a husband from the local beaus, but none of them stand a chance when handsome, irreverent Josh Arnold comes to town. The newlyweds move to the sleepy hamlet of Sweet Shrub, Arkansas, where they are soon caught up in the lives of their neighbors and discover that the surface tranquility of the town hides simmering tensions and unrest that will inevitably result in tragedy.
Spanning the years from 1911 to 1931, the story follows Lucy's life as a young school teacher in west Texas through marriage, childbirth, and the Great Depression. Through all the hardships, her indomitable spirit wins out.
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