Liar’s Winter

Written by Cindy K. Sproles
Review by Anne Clinard Barnhill

Sproles’s newest inspirational novel is set in 19th-century Appalachia. Nestled among the hills and valleys, a story of good versus evil takes place, beginning with the abduction of an infant, Lochiel Ogle. Told in first person from Lochiel’s point of view, a tale that pits pure meanness and violence against compassion and love plays out when Lochiel’s brother, Gerald, steals her from her mother’s arms. Throughout childhood, Gerald torments Lochiel, calling her the Devil’s Daughter because she has a large port wine birth mark across her cheek. Among the uneducated and superstitious people of the mountains, this mark is enough to ban her from society.

As Lochiel slowly learns to love and accept herself, we see her emerge from her cocoon into a lovely nineteen-year-old woman. But the journey isn’t easy and, thankfully, Lochiel runs into a family of folks who live their faith, accepting the stranger and offering love.

The message is clear and the characters believable. The major flaw in that the reader is given the same information many, many times, which causes the first portion of the book to slow down. First-person is a difficult viewpoint to pull off successfully, and one of the pitfalls is to reveal the character’s thoughts too often. But other than that, the book captures the flavor and feel of mountain people with accuracy and understanding.