In 1945, when Billy May was 14 years old and alone, three local boys witnessed an incident in which Billy May's sexuality was called into question. Determined to teach her a lesson she would never forget, they orchestrated a brutal attack that changed the dynamics of the tiny coal mining village of Cedar Hollow, West Virginia forever. Thirty years after the brutal attack, living in solitude on top of Crutcher Mountain, Billy May discovers the hideout of a young girl - a girl who just happens to be the daughter of one of the boys who attacked Billy May so long ago.
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No one with Jessie's history of childhood trauma could make it through unscathed, and Jessie is no exception. As recounted in Appalachian Justice, Jessie is an adult survivor of horrendous childhood abuse suffered at the hands of her stepfather. At the age of 13, on a stormy night on top of Crutcher Mountain, Jessie was rescued by reclusive mountain woman Billy May Platte.
Beth Sloan has spent the majority of her life trying to escape the memories of a difficult childhood. Born into the infamous Pritchett family of Cedar Hollow, West Virginia, she grew up hard, surrounded not only by homemade stills and corn liquor but by an impoverished family that more often than not preferred life on the wrong side of the law. After the mysterious death of her brother, Luke, at the age of 13, 17-year-old Beth and her younger sister, Naomi, ran away from home, never to return.
On the anniversary of her husband's death, 49-year-old Emily Holt runs away, leaving an unmade bed, an unlocked house, two college-aged sons, and an overabundance of bad memories.