Apron Strings: Book 1 in the Apron Strings Trilogy
by Mary Morony
Archway Publishing

"I overheard someone say to my mother, 'You’re so lucky to have Ethel. Good help just doesn’t come along like that, you know.'"

At age seven, Sallee Mackey lives a confusing and at times constraining life. She, her brother, and her two sisters live in a comfortable Virginia home with their parents and Ethel, the family maid. Sallee’s father quits his career in law to invest and construct the area’s first shopping center, creating friction between him and his wife Ginny. Ginny yearns for the traditional life of a socialite wife, entertaining guests and ensuring proper manners in each of her children. However, a secret from Ginny’s past and the identity of their devious neighbor loom large over the family. The tension from this and the conflict of the community’s outrage at the proposed shopping center begin to unravel Sallee’s family, and Ethel seems to be the only person who knows all the facts when everyone else tries to put on airs and conceal the truth.

From the beginning, this narrative drips with foreshadowing and the dread that tragedy rests just over the horizon. Despite Sallee’s innocence, she seems very aware that Ginny’s icy, distracted demeanor brings with it something that upsets normalcy, and the reader can only passively observe as things wear down and break apart in her life. Ethel’s stable presence in not just Ginny’s life but the life of her family tries to offer a safe haven and creates a fascinating second perspective on the circumstances that made Ginny the woman she is. This novel is a tense, emotional read that promises to challenge its audience without pushing them away. As the first book in a trilogy, those that are drawn in by the raw, honest humanity of this story can be promised more to come after this satisfying first story.

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