"During the Great Depression, wretched labor camps crop up in remote areas of the expansive pine forests throughout the American South. Destitute workers live and toil under terrible conditions to harvest pine gum, hacking into tree trunks, drawing out the sticky sap that gives the Tar Heel State its nickname, and hauling it to stills to be refined into turpentine. Subsistence living means racking huge debts they are forced to work off, creating an endless cycle of labor and debt. But for the most desperate among America's vast unemployed, these camps are often the last and only option. This much is true for three individuals whose lives intersect in the deep woods of Georgia at the Swallow Hill turpentine camp in 1932. For Rae Lynn Cobb, a young woman disguised as a man, Swallow Hill offers distance and anonymity from those who would wrongly imprison her for killing her kind though careless husband. For a charming bachelor named Del Reese, it's a place where backbreaking work might drown out memories of a recent trauma that's shaken him to his core. But Swallow Hill is no easy haven. The squalid camp is ruled by a sadistic boss named Crow and the greedy commissary owner Otis Riddle, a man who takes out his frustrations on his browbeaten wife, Cornelia. As Rae Lynn forges a deeper friendship with both Del and Cornelia, she begins to envision a path out of the camp"--
Includes discussion questions.