Donna Everhart

The Forgiving Kind

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THE FORGIVING KIND by Donna Everhart

“The heart is fertile ground…”

In this masterful new novel, set in 1950s North Carolina, the acclaimed author of The Road to Bittersweet and The Education of Dixie Dupree brings to life an unforgettable young heroine and a moving story of family love tested to its limits.

For twelve-year-old Martha “Sonny” Creech, there is no place more beautiful than her family’s cotton farm. She, her two brothers, and her parents work hard on their land—hoeing, planting, picking—but only Sonny loves the rich, dark earth the way her father does. When a tragic accident claims his life, her stricken family struggles to fend off ruin—until their rich, reclusive neighbor offers to help finance that year’s cotton crop.

Sonny is dismayed when her mama accepts Frank Fowler’s offer; even more so when Sonny’s best friend, Daniel, points out that the man has ulterior motives. Sonny has a talent for divining water—an ability she shared with her father and earns her the hated nickname “water witch” in school. But uncanny as that skill may be, it won’t be enough to offset Mr. Fowler’s disturbing influence in her world. Even her bond with Daniel begins to collapse under the weight of Mr. Fowler’s bigoted taunts. Though she tries to bury her misgivings for the sake of her mama’s happiness, Sonny doesn’t need a willow branch to divine that a reckoning is coming, bringing with it heartache, violence—and perhaps, a fitting and surprising measure of justice .


  • She Reads chooses THE FORGIVING KIND as their top pick in their Winter Roundup!
  • SIBA Trio 2019 selection, song “Lift Me Up,” written and sung by Bruce Greenwood, art by Nikki Kozack. Go to this site to listen to the music and see the art!
  • A Deep South Magazine Ten Picks for the New Year
  • An Amazon Best Book of the month, February, in “Heart Felt Fiction”
  • A BookBub 21 of the Best New Historical Novels coming this winter


“Reminiscent of the novels of Lee Smith, Kaye Gibbons, and Sandra Dallas, Everhart builds a firm sense of place, portraying the tiredness and hope of a dry southern summer and voicing strong southern women.” ~Booklist

“With a diverse cast and layered themes, The Forgiving Kind may be Everhart’s best yet.” Read full review here. ~Historical Novel Society Review

“It was a slow burn until this story that I thought would be predictable, wasn’t, and until this wasn’t a run of the mill coming of age story, but one depicting serious issues of bigotry and racism. It is also about a mother whose decisions are blinded by the need to provide for her children. It’s about friendship and grief and an unforgettable character named Sonny Creech. The ending for me was unexpected, but made for a very satisfying read. Recommended!” Goodreads /NetGalley Reviewer, Angela M.

“Donna Everhart has outdone herself with her most recent effort. The Forgiving Kind is important and emotional, and I was left feeling that even though we think we’ve come a long way since the 1950s, we still have a long way to go. Jennifer, Tar Heel Reader (read her full review here)

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