Set on a rugged coastal homestead during the 1970s, This Life Is
in Your Hands introduces a superb young writer driven by the need
to uncover the truth of a childhood tragedy and connect anew with
the beauty and vitality of the back-to-the-land ideal that shaped
her early years.
In the fall of 1968, Melissa Coleman's parents, Eliot and Sue--a
handsome, idealistic young couple from well-to-do families--pack a
few essentials into their VW truck and abandon the complications of
modern reality to carve a farm from the woods. They move to a
remote peninsula on the coast of Maine and become disciples of
Helen and Scott Nearing, authors of the homesteading bible Living
the Good Life. On sixty acres of sandy, intractable land, Eliot and
Sue begin to forge a new existence, subsisting on the crops they
grow and building a home with their own hands.
While they establish a happy family and achieve their visionary
goals, the pursuit of a purer, simpler life comes at a price.
Winters are long and lean, summers frenetic with the work of the
harvest, and the distraction of the many young farm apprentices
threatens the Colemans' marriage. Then, one summer day when Melissa
is seven, her three-year-old sister, Heidi, wanders off and drowns
in the pond where she liked to play. In the wake of the accident,
ideals give way to human frailty, divorce, and a mother's
breakdown--and ultimately young Melissa is abandoned to the care of
neighbors. What really happened, and who, if anyone, is to
This Life Is in Your Hands is the search to understand a
complicated past; a true story, both tragic and redemptive, it
tells of the quest to make a good life, the role of fate, and the
power of forgiveness.
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