The transition from blueblood to redneck may be devastating to the strongest man or woman. But when you are a 15-year-old debutante, there are only two options sink or swim. When DeVeaux DeLoach is faced with giving up Junior Cotillion, St. Mary's Boarding School in Richmond and the family's imposing Rose Hill Plantation home, she attempts to embrace her new reality rather than dwell on what might have been. Writing from the viewpoint of a girl on the verge of womanhood, Beth Webb Hart captures the heart and soul of the low country, just outside of Charleston's genteel view in Grace at Low Tide. Hart refuses to sidestep the myriad landmines of adolescence, from peer pressure, emerging sexuality, drug and alcohol abuse and the strains of a family in transition. She has created characters that are full-bodied and resonant, and the story moves crisply, interrupted only when she pauses to quote scripture too perfectly.

Mike Parker is a former pastor who writes from Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

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