Category Archives: Newton, Heather

Heather Newton. Under the Mercy Trees. New York: Harper, 2011.

When Leon Owenby, the eldest of five siblings, goes missing in Willoby County, North Carolina, his family rallies together to try to find him. Although he is an ornery (at best) individual, his disappearance is unsettling. Leon always keeps to himself, close to the family’s mountain homeplace, so leaving unannounced is out of character for the sixty-five-year-old.

With the family’s assistance, the sheriff’s office searches the property. As they collect clues that point to Leon’s whereabouts, facts about the siblings surface. James is having an especially hard time dealing with his brother being gone. His wife’s affair with Leon decades earlier left him demoralized, and he feels conflicted now. Martin, the baby of the family, is lost in his own way: he is in a dead relationship, unemployed, and an alcoholic. Coming home to Willoby forces Martin confront old wounds, but being with his childhood friends rejuvenates his spirit. People have always considered Ivy troubled because she sees spirits. Her gift, however, gives Ivy greater insight than anyone suspects. Eugenia resents her siblings’ quirks. Uncomfortable with the undesired attention, she is more interested in keeping up appearances than helping her family cope with their loss.

In their search to find their brother, the Owenbys learn about themselves and their family.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Mountains, Newton, Heather, Novels Set in Fictional Places