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This is a story of a place and the people who live there, the place being the Catawba Valley in the North Carolina foothills region; the people being the members of four families,their neighbors and their friends. A series of narratives in first person, the narratives are tied together by Dr. Robert Sawyer, born and raised in a village called Bethany. Going back to the history of his great-grandfather and forward into the generation of his great-grandchildren, Dr. Sawyer records births, deaths, marriages, ordinary and extraordinary events against the backdrop of the twentieth century. Marshall Cade, foundling from the city of Chicago, represents the encroachment of the outside world on the insular community. Marshall marries into the family of one of the early settlers of the land and becomes a leader in the community. His friend and neighbor, Jake Sawyer, brings in another "outsider" --Peggy McDonald, the pretty red-haired girl he meets at the State Fair. Peggy becomes the mother of Robert Sawyer, and the Cades' sons become his companions. Then there are the Graysons and the Mosses, whose children, along with Robert and the Cades, are coming of age at the time World War II breaks out. See much, much more...
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