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Venom and the River
by Marsha Qualey
an e-book from
Untreed Reads, 2013
 
Book Description
Several hundred women are about to converge on tiny Pepin, Minnesota to celebrate the 120th anniversary of the birth of Ida May Turnbull, the long-dead author of a beloved series of children’s books that owe much of their current fame to Little Girl, Big River, a television show based loosely on Turnbull’s books. When the “Little Girls” gather in Pepin, Leigh Burton finds life has changed forever.
Leigh is a disgraced journalist who was stripped of a Pulitzer for fabricating details in a few newspaper stories. In the ten years since, she has been scratching out a living as a freelancer, most recently as a ghostwriter of self-published autobiographies for wealthy old men. She arrives in Pepin to assist an aged former vice president of the US with his memoirs—a real job on a real book. The only hitch: No publisher will buy any nonfiction with her fingerprints on it.
Leigh has to keep her past under wraps, which becomes a challenge when she’s gently blackmailed by a Pepin local and her sixteen-year-old daughter arrives unexpectedly and threatens to tell everyone that Mom was once someone named Nancy Taylor Lee. Making things even more difficult is that Leigh is living in Ida May Turnbull’s long-shuttered childhood home, which puts her in the bulls-eye of the Little Girls’ obsession. It’s a position that jeopardizes her secret, her work, a budding romance, and her fragile relationship with her daughter.
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