This inspirational coming-of-age story, set in the hills of Kentucky in the late 1800s, is full of folklore and common-day activities of Kentucky mountain people. Laura Grace “Copper” Brown is born the only child of a young, hopelessly in love couple. Soon after her birth, Copper’s mother dies. Her aunt, Grace, comes to help her grieving father take care of Copper. Despite Grace’s love for Lexington and city life, she agrees to stay and marry Will, Copper’s father, leaving behind those things she loves. Grace dreams of Copper going to Lexington to be educated, but Copper never wants to leave her mountains. One special friend Copper makes, Remy, is a young albino girl who lives wild in a cave in the mountains. Remy doesn’t associate with or trust other people, but somehow she and Copper form a special bond of friendship. Although Remy is a young girl, Copper learns she is wise in ways most adults are not. As Copper watches her friends and family face the physical challenges the land offers, she uses the lessons she learns to help her face the emotional challenges of growing up and learning her destiny.
This, Jan Watson’s first novel, won the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writer’s Guild “Operation First Novel” competition in 2004. It is a comfortable read, with interesting descriptions of life in the Kentucky hills, and characters that are endearingly human. Some of them seem common and simple when introduced, but as the story unfolds, each character’s true worth is revealed.