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The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter (Ballad #2)

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4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  3,573 Ratings  ·  161 Reviews
Edgar Award-winning author Sharyn McCrumb offers a haunting tale of madness and murder set against a tapestry of Applachian folklore. The special insight of a newcomer to the wilderness community and the dark visions of its long-time Sunday school teacher intersect when death and fear come to the mountain. Sequel to If I Ever Return, Pretty Peggy-O.
Hardcover
Published December 31st 1992 by Scribner Book Company (first published 1992)
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(showing 1-30)
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Amy
Sep 01, 2009 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my second book by Sharyn McCrumb, and I liked this one best. She has such a way of transporting me to backwoods Tennessee. I feel like I'm sitting on somebody's porch, listening to Uncle Asa tell stories. This story just meanders on down the hill, taking its own sweet time. In this book, there are actually several tales being told, each a complete story on its own, but woven together to create a fascinating tapestry. There are plenty of diversions and side trips, just to keep things inte ...more
Werner
Feb 16, 2008 Werner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of general fiction, and of fiction set in Appalachia
Shelves: general-fiction
Modern/contemporary general fiction hasn't formed the largest bloc of my reading --not because I don't like it, but just because, at the specific times when I've picked books to read over the years, selections from the other genres have usually happened to overshadow anything from this one. And I greatly enjoy both the supernatural (as well as other speculative) and mystery genres. So it's perhaps not surprising that when I do read general fiction, some of what I'm attracted to has elements of o ...more
Maurean
Feb 11, 2008 Maurean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter” is the second installment of her Appalachian Ballad series, and was the third of said series that I’ve had the pleasure to read (while several characters are re-occurring, these ballads need not be read in order, and are all easily enjoyable as stand-alones).

McCrumb deftly displays both the beauty and the hardship of the Celtic heritage, prevalent in the Appalachian area. In this particular tale, McCrumb weaves several storylines simultaneously: we are acquaint
...more
Sharla
Apr 11, 2012 Sharla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The sense of place in this book is so real you can feel the mountain shadows lengthen. I identify with the characters so much I can almost feel their pain. Loved Maggie and was so angry at those who failed to help her and Mark when they needed it. Nora Bonesteel is a wonderful character you'd love to meet in life. The only criticism would be that I thought the Justin Warrren camp of wanna-be soldiers didn't serve much purpose. They seemed extraneous. Overall a great read.
Connie Knight
May 25, 2013 Connie Knight rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter, published in 1992, introduced Sharyn McCrumb's portrait of life in Dark Hollow, Tennessee, a small town in the Appalachian mountains. This novel was a Mystery Guild Selection.

Main characters begin with Nora Bonesteel, an elderly woman with the gift of Sight. Her house is on a mountaintop that faces the nearby mountain showing the Hangman's face. People come to her for help. One of her friends is Jane Arrowood, widowed mother of Sheriff Spencer Arrowood. Spencer'
...more
Anne Hawn Smith
Jan 18, 2010 Anne Hawn Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, history
This story is as odd as the several mountain stories that are told within it. Nora Bonesteel has the second sight and she often has the coffee poured and plates of cookies out arleady when the visitor comes up the road. She is the character around whom the story is told although she is not the main character. There is a terrible tragedy and four members of the Underhill family are dead and the remaining two children are dazed and left without kin to take them in. There are several more stories w ...more
Mary
Nov 21, 2015 Mary rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
In the used bookstore a few days ago I asked the clerk for a mystery recommendation. This was one of them.

While it isn't objectively bad, I just didn't enjoy it.

I realized tonight that I was coming up with any excuse to not pick it up and finish. So I quickly skimmed the last half and guess what? It was more of the same. This isn't a mystery even though it's categorized as a crime novel - the killer is named very early on. At times it seemed to be dealing with environmental issues, then small
...more
Lynn Pribus
Oct 21, 2012 Lynn Pribus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although there is a mystery with things not really being as they appear, this book is more a collection of Southern story-telling with a fey old woman who sometimes sees the future. It's almost a series of short stories, tied together in the framework of a quilt the old woman is creating.

Two parents and a young boy are murdered by an older son who commits suicide, leaving two siblings behind. The minister's wife, in his absence because of being deployed as a chaplain to the midEast, is a connec
...more
Lana
Aug 07, 2010 Lana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: open-to-swap
This book is an odd one. Sharyn McCrumb obviously does a great deal of research to make her books authentic to the Appalachian people. It was an interesting read, as far as details go and learning something new about an unfamiliar culture.

The story/stories were well-told. None of the stories ever actually had a point, which in this book wasn't really a problem. I enjoyed it anyway. It was like listening to somebody tell a story about something that happened to them, just because they liked to ta
...more
Melissa
Mar 07, 2010 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
Another really good book from Sharyn McCrumb. I started reading this one as I spent the weekend in the Appalachian hills near the setting of her books. It isn't a typical 'whodunnit' mystery, but rather explores several issues that affect several lives in the aftermath of a tragic shooting. There is plenty to think about, and to me the most interesting issue was the one not overtly explored: how otherwise good, honest, and caring people can still be self-absorbed enough to miss the tragedies bre ...more
Debbie Maskus
McCrumb does a wonderful job in describing the mountains and people. I adore her use of old-time folk lore to enhance the story. In this tale, two brothers and the parents are brutally murdered by the oldest son, who also takes his own life. The story has other tragedies besides this: the burning death of a young mother, the environmental cancer death of an old man, the stillborn death of the preacher's wife. But, amid all this heartbreak is inspiration and hope; and a sense of renewal. I thorou ...more
Claudia Mosey
Sep 22, 2012 Claudia Mosey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read "the legend of Tom Dooley" by this author.Enjoyed it very much,but the forgot to look up more of her books.Saw a blurb abt.her and her stories,set in Appalachia,so I got this one.Well,I just loved this story.It puts you in the mountains,among the poor people,who don't know they are poor,add a nice mixture of local characters and each of their stories,and murder.I had to read it straight through. I will read more by MsSharyn McCrumb,already looking for "If Ever I return,Pretty Peggy-O".Can ...more
Holly Morey
Sep 08, 2012 Holly Morey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the 2nd novel in the "Ballad" series. The story revolves around Nora Bonesteel, though she is not the main character. She has what is known as the "second-sight" in Appalachia and she knows things before they happen. What I like about this series is the characters and their developement throughout the books. The plots in this book revolve around the murder-suicide of four members of a family, a pregnant woman, whose husband is overseas, and a man dying of cancer, caused by pollutants in ...more
Mary-Beth
Jun 06, 2008 Mary-Beth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I'm not going to pretend I am not biased. It wasn't the writing that I disliked about this novel or the characters or anything like that, not that either of those things were exceptional. It was just god-awfully depressing. So much for the tiny bit of magic in the novel. It's a little old lady who rarely sees anything that she wants to about the future and certainly isn't capable of doing anything about it. Ouch. Between murders, insanity, senseless accidents and industrial pollution there were ...more
Kristi Lamont
Nov 05, 2013 Kristi Lamont rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, I'll be reading more of Ms. McCrumb's work. I felt like I was back in time, a little-bitty girl going on a picnic on the mountain with MaMaw and PaPaw or going out to the mountain to visit with Aunt Ethel and Uncle John Henry. The light blue eyes, the seeing things that are to come but that are not really of immediate use to one's self or the ones who are in the slice of the future, boy did this seem like home to me.
Mimi
May 14, 2012 Mimi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2012
Another one that could do with a half star. However, what I loved about this book was that it wove in Shakespeare, the Irish heritage of Appalachia, and the ballads that nurture the area so beautifully. In a lot of ways it reminded me of "Christy" - it's not necessarily a compelling story, but a compelling setting and characters. The mystery is, quite frankly, a sideline.

I look forward to reading more of her novels.
Nicole Marble
Oct 08, 2007 Nicole Marble rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: admirers of fine storytelling
There doesn't seem to be any genre Mccrumb hasn't mastered. This is a broad sweep of a community high up in Eastern Tennessee with real people doing real things..........plus someone with 2nd sight. Some plot twists are so delicious they will stay in my memory for a long time. A must read for anyone who loves a well told story.
J A W
Jun 21, 2012 J A W rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wonderful-reads, own
Of this series, this is my favorite, McCrumb weaves the ordinary with the eerie in a manner that grips her reader. While the characterizations were wonderful, the stereotypical tortured Vietnam veteran loner portrayal, who was more of a caricature than a character, kept this book from earning 5 stars.
Nicole
I think this is the book I read, many years ago. It was very haunting and disturbing. It bothered me so much that I've never read another one of this author's books. There also was some kinda psychic aspect to the story that I had a hard time following. I usually like mystery/suspense books, but this one was not one I enjoyed.
Kris
Aug 30, 2011 Kris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Perhaps I am cynical, but I knew the reason for the murder from the first pages. Waiting for everyone else to figure it out was nerve wracking to say the least.

THe subplot involving the minister's wife and her baby felt tacked on me, it served no real purpose except to jack up the tears quotient for the reader.
Judy
Oct 30, 2012 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In Dark Hollow, Tennessee, it was accepted within the community that Nora Bonesteel had "the Sight". And so she understood before anyone else that a tragedy had occured in the Underhill family. Sharyn McCrumb uses the mountain setting of eastern Tennessee to tell a story that seamlessly mixes Appalachian legends with the reality of modern America.
Becky Peeples
May 30, 2015 Becky Peeples rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What a thouroughly depressing book! I don't even know if I can finish this. Its like a bad nightmare, dead babies in the womb, murderous siblings etc, grave digging.. I don't think I'll be reading anything else by her. Too macabre for me.
Benee
Oct 28, 2008 Benee rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I felt that it was a slow read. In the end I found I didn't really feel any connection with the characters. I kept exspecting somthing more when I was done. It was okay!
Betty
Mar 09, 2009 Betty rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an odd story, but for some reason I couldn't quit reading it. I enjoyed it, but wouldn't recommend anyone spend their time on it. Strange, huh?
Garry Bell
May 27, 2017 Garry Bell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My second book enjoyed by this author. Being from the "foothill" Appalachias I very much enjoy her sense of culture and people and how she develops her characters in her books.
Will definitely be reading more of her works.
Sarah Haman
I enjoy these. I learn something about the legends of Appalachia every time.
Kelby Silvernagel
Sharyn McCrumb’s book, The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter, fulfilled all my expectations. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and believed it earned its right as a New York Times Notable Book. The different storylines, complex characters, and underlying theme of the story make it truly magnificent.
In the book there are many different storylines to follow. Each chapter covers many of them, if not all, at varying times. The reader will experience a whirlwind of information and action while traveling th
...more
Amy
Here we have a book by a writer that by all accounts, I should love.
I read the Ballad of Frankie Silver a year or so ago & I feel much the same about this one.
Yawn.
I only picked this one up for the promise of the details of the old woman with "The Sight"--I've been told I have it (doubtful) but I was looking forward to gleaning some more information about it. It wasn't long before it was clear to me I wasn't going to get it from this book. I laid it down somewhere around page 60, & di
...more
Heather
Jun 14, 2012 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I started reading this book it seemed really familiar to me. I couldn't remember if I'd read it before years ago or if I was thinking of another book featuring the character of Nora Bonesteel as I know there is more than one. As I read, I realized I had read this one but I didn't remember how it ended and I was enjoying it enough to finish it for the second time.

Laura Bruce is a small town minister's wife whose husband is overseas ministering to deployed troops. She gets a call late one nig
...more
Barbara M
There are times when Sharyn McCrumb's writing is downright poetic. But this story had a lot of sadness. It starts with the terrible murder of a family by an older son, leaving two younger children Mark soon to be 18, and Maggie 15, on their own.

The story covers several months in the area of Dark Hollow, Tennessee in the Appalachian Mountains, a fairly close knit community. McCrumb makes the characters believable and people the reader can care about. One disaster after another impact the residen
...more
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    Sharyn McCrumb, an award-winning Southern writer, is best known for her Appalachian “Ballad” novels, including the New York Times best sellers The Ballad of Tom Dooley, The Ballad of Frankie Silver, and The Songcatcher. Ghost Riders, which won the Wilma Dykeman Award for Literature from the East Tennessee Historical Society and the national Audie Award for Best Recorded Books. The Unquiet Gra
...more
More about Sharyn McCrumb...

Other Books in the Series

Ballad (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • If Ever I Return, Pretty Peggy-O (Ballad, #1)
  • She Walks These Hills (Ballad, #3)
  • The Rosewood Casket (Ballad, #4)
  • The Ballad of Frankie Silver (Ballad, #5)
  • The Songcatcher (Ballad, #6)
  • Ghost Riders (Ballad, #7)
  • The Devil Amongst the Lawyers (Ballad, #8)
  • The Ballad of Tom Dooley (Ballad, #9)
  • King's Mountain (Ballad, #10)
  • Prayers the Devil Answers

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