Ansay, A. Manette "Vinegar Hill" - 1995
It is always amazing to see how much a person can endure. And how long they can watch to see how their loved ones, their children, can go through hard times.
The story of Ellen and her husband who move in with his parents is that of a lot of women in the seventies, not enough money to raise their family, so moving in with the parents seems like a good idea. Well, not exactly but it seems like the only idea.
The story is told with a lot of detail, yet very flowing. The language is beautiful, the author manages to build anticipation, to make the book exciting from the first line to the last. No wonder Oprah chose this for her list.
From the back cover:
"In a stark, troubling, yet ultimately triumphant celebration of self-determination, award-winning author A. Manette Ansay re-creates a stifling world of guilty and pain, and the tormented souls who inhabit it. It is 1972 when circumstance carries Ellen Grier and her family back to Holly's Field, Wisconsin. Dutifully accompanying her newly unemployed husband, Ellen has brought her two children into the home of her in-laws on Vinegar Hill -- a loveless house suffused with the settling dust of bitterness and routine -- where calculated cruelty is a way of life preserved and perpetuated in the service of a rigid, exacting and angry God. Behind a facade of false piety, there are sins and secrets in this place that could crush a vibrant young woman's passionate spirit. And here Ellen must find the straight to endure, change, and grow in the all-pervading darkness that threatens to destroy everything she is and everyone she loves."