My dad talked me into reading this book. I'm very glad he did as it turned out to be a very interesting read. If you have any interest in the culture of the hills of North Carolina, you'll learn quite a lot. It's more than that though, it's full of interesting characters, some mystery and plenty of plot twists. There are some great sections where she uses all the senses to describe a scene, so anyone looking to learn about such things for their own writing would benefit.
The story is written in first person from the point of view of Laine, a 15 year old who is more an adult than most 30 year olds I know. It's starts off as a turn of the century Cinderella story where Laine is essentially a slave to her mother and sister. Her father is a nice man, but weak when it comes to dealing with his wife and standing up for Laine. It's her father's inability to stand up to his wife that causes a huge change in Laine's life. By the end of the story I was practially cheering Laine as she dealt with all of the jerks in her life and set about making a true life for herself.
Definitely five stars. I will be reading more of Ms. Stern's work.