Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “She Walks These Hills” as Want to Read:
She Walks These Hills
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

She Walks These Hills (Ballad #3)

4.07  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,094 Ratings  ·  185 Reviews
Fear more chilling than approaching winter blankets the Appalachian community of Dark Hollow, Tennessee. Some believe that the ghost of Katie Wyler, kidnapped by Shawnee two hundred years ago, is once again roaming the hills. Even more frightening, a convicted murderer has escaped prison and is heading home with his woodsman's cunning, mocking all attempts to keep him from ...more
Published October 1st 1994 by Scribner Book Company (first published 1994)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
I love books with strong plots, and the architecture of McCrumb's novel has an admirable set of relationships between past and present. The foundation of her novel is based on the legend of Katie Wyler, an 18th century settler, captured and held by the Shawnee until she escaped and walked miles and miles home (roughly from Morgantown to Ashville)in hopes of reconnecting with her people. McCrumb juxtaposes this tale with several characters who live in Appalachia in the late 20th Century. Each con ...more
Rachel C.
Jan 06, 2008 Rachel C. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'll admit to having been disappointed when McCrumb segued into her NASCAR books, but understand the desire to evolve. Of her many ballad books I loved this one most because of the way that she wove together the history, the mystery and the ghost stories. Beautifully written and a well made statement about women's roles in the past and present.
Mar 13, 2008 Leila rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This puts a realistic picture of Appalachian life for us who might want to think of it romantically.
Aug 03, 2007 Janon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love all of McCrumb's ballad series. Not necessarily the best writing, nor the most intriguing mysteries, but the way that she weaves together the stories behind each of the folk ballads with the modern-time happenings is just...magic to me.
This was an alright story. It is about many different people in a small town in the Appalations(sp?) and their connection to each other. There is an elderly escaped convict, a middle aged woman dispatcher who wants to be a deputy(and feels the need to explain this on every friggen level), a history Student who tries to walk the 200 year old trail of a girl who escaped the indians and maybe a ghost. There is also a of a radio dj(who really bugged me, but I don't like radio dj's so thats a Jessi ...more
Feb 19, 2010 Cindy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, 10-10-10
Harm Sorley has gone a little crazy in prison. Either the alcohol or the confinement, mostly likely both, has got him confused about where - and when - he is. But not so confused that he couldn't escape and start heading for the only home he's ever known, in the country hills of Tennessee.

But much more time has passed than Harm realizes. His beautiful wife and baby daughter are almost 40 years older. The land has changed. And Harm himself has changed too.

His wife, remarried now to a 'respectable
Apr 11, 2009 Andy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The strength of this book is the author's obvious knowledge, and love for, Appalachia. Her vivid descriptions of the mountains and hollers, and her engrossing characters make you feel as if you've stepped out of your home and into a small town, deep in the mountains. I truly enjoyed getting to know the folks in Dark Hollow, Tennessee. (Particularly the DJ, "Hank the Yank" - he made me laugh out loud!)

I give the book only 3 stars because the author's use of point of view during the story was not
Debbie Maskus
Jul 30, 2009 Debbie Maskus rated it really liked it
An interesting story set in the Tennessee/North Carolina mountains about mountain living. I really liked the parallel stories of the young woman escaping from Indians in 1700's and the 60+ prison escapee. The story has many memorable characters which interweave into the main story. The few pages about the honor student who kills himself after a football game ties into the mountain mentality. The traditions concerning death, love, and life seem silly, but are essential to survival. Once I started ...more
Lisa Shawn
Nov 01, 2015 Lisa Shawn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A friend loaned me this book as it takes place in a fictional Tennessee town (Hamelin) on the border of North Carolina (Asheville--a real place!) where we will soon be moving. I really enjoyed the book and found myself up late into night reading the next chapter (and then the next). To me that is a sign of good fiction. The book tells the story of a small town filled with many mountain people (referred to as hillbillies in the book) who have their own legends and customs. The mountain person cul ...more
May 13, 2014 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are more people walking the woods of these hills than coyotes howling at the moon. Having walked some of the trails in the Appalachian Mountain region of our great country, it was a treat to recall my own appreciation for the beauty of this land. This story covers three different time periods. The ghost of Katie Wyler, a pioneer woman is from the late 1700's. We have Hiram (Harm) Sorley, a 65 year old escaped convict who's memory is stuck in the 1960's. Then comes present day with Jeremy C ...more
Jan 31, 2016 Beverly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this for my Mystery Book Club discussion for this week. When I first finished it this morning, I was on my way to another book club. I rated it 4 stars and didn't have time to write this actual review. So between then and now, I've changed my mind and decided that I loved the book and had to up my stars to 5. This is the 3rd book in this series and I hate to read out of order but I didn't have time to read the first two prior to this one so I don't know if there are repeating characters a ...more
Sezín Koehler
Mar 24, 2008 Sezín Koehler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in American history
An absolutely charming story about Appalachia, weaving history together with the present and giving a gorgeous portrait of life in one of the oldest and untouched parts of America.
Katherine Clark
Aug 01, 2014 Katherine Clark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 3/4 stars. I was so tempted to give this a 5 star. I loved this book. I thought I had read it before, but I actually had read the first book in the series, and this is a later one. This is one of those books that shifts the reader in time. I would look up from what I was reading and be momentarily startled that I wasn't in the Appalachian Mountains. Since my dissertation, I've had trouble keeping focused for long when reading. I can last about 20 minutes before I get antsy. With McCrumb's book ...more
Jan 26, 2014 Luseride rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the first of the Ballad novels that I read by Mrs. McCrumb and it still my favorite. All stories to not have happy endings and sometimes things fall apart, but that is the way of life.

An escaped convict, a graduate student searching for answers to this dissertation on Katie Wilder, a lady that sees more than most, a new deputy, relationships, new, broken, and found again, the threads are all interwoven and connected well.

I really love the excerpts from the Tennessee Methodist Hymn
Aug 01, 2015 Mary rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book starts out very slow and there were many times when the book failed to keep my attention. Learning a little bit about the Appalachian community and Katie Wyler's ghost were the only 2 themes that kept me interested in the book. McCrumb describes too many relationships/characters/plots that I felt that I was reading a soap opera that was jumping around too much. I will admit that after I finished reading Ch. 9 (more than half the book), I skimmed through Chs. 10-18 and focused on learni ...more
Jun 24, 2014 Shelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story is a deft combination of historical fiction in the guise of the story of Katie Wyler, and modern police procedural depicting a manhunt for a murderer who has escaped from jail after 30 years. It also includes the story of a doctoral candidate in history who is hiking through the Tennessee mountains as part of his research into the story of Katie Wyler. The different threads of the tale all come together at the climax, where characters from the different stories meet in the mountains. ...more
Jun 03, 2014 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book. First time in years that a book had me on the verge of tears.
Not sure why, but I suspect it had a great deal to do with McCrumb's sheer storytelling skill. And I also suspect that, written as it was in the 1990s and set in that time as well, it resonated for me in ways that later books may not be resonating. I knew these characters and their laments and longings.
But it sure was a damn good story told by an outstanding writer with a really deft storytelling touch. Love, loss, e
Apr 26, 2011 Kaethe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
an historical plotline of a captive? cool.
Aug 30, 2013 Dee rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to read a book by Sharyn McCrumb because I met her years ago and liked her.

This book is set in Appalachian country. There were many characters to keep track of, and the story line switched characters every few paragraghs or pages.

There was Martha Ayers, a wanna-be deputy, her long-time live-in boyfriend, Joe LeDonne, who was already a deputy.

Part of the storyline follows a 30-year-old murder of Claib Maggard, supposedly by Hiram Sorely, also known as Harm, who has just escaped from pris
Apr 10, 2008 Danna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A number of books on my currently-reading list are en route to the library I use, so I picked this one up off my snack pile to read in the mean time. (Snack pile: a stack of second-hand books I haven't read yet that seem like entertaining quick-reads.) Noticing other Goodreads reviews, I was intrigued and did a bit of digging online. Behold the power of learning more about the thing you're reading: Knowing the author's motives and the intent behind her stories has i ...more
Oct 31, 2015 Lois rated it really liked it
A gaggle of police officers in the East Tennessee mountains deals with a particularly Appalachian crime wave. The struggles of women, past and present, riffle through the story as the river meanders through the mountains-- sometimes showing a clear way home, but more often, not. The men are mostly baffled, misled or self-deluded by their machismo. The exception being Sheriff Spencer Arrowood, who is clear and consistent and humble enough. "Follow the River" by Thom has long been one of my favori ...more
Joyce Brown
Oct 27, 2014 Joyce Brown rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Part contemporary realism, part fantasy, part historical fiction--this story sends the reader on a hazy, scary, mystical journey along the Appalachian Trail and into the mindset of a small Tennessee town. A crime has been committed, and the Sheriff and his deputy wannabe are determined to solve it. An escaped convict, an inexperienced hiker, a Mountain Wise Woman, and a spirit make the solution harder than it looks on the surface. Spine tingling adventure.
Aug 11, 2015 Joanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent! I was introduced to Sharyn's Appalachia through book club and loved the first book, so I visited the library to see if there were more and happily there were several. This is the kind of book that appears to have several different story lines going, but they all intersect by the end and its very fulfilling. Good read for historical fiction, mystery or Americana readers.
May 25, 2014 Marilyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: special
I have enjoyed ALL of McCrumb's books which were set in the southern Appalachians. I have read only ONE book by her which was NOT set in this area and did NOT like that book (The Windsor Knot). IF you are interested in the lives of those in the hills and dales of the southern Appalachians these are wonderful books.
Mary Kinietz
Mar 16, 2014 Mary Kinietz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mystery told from several perspectives. Set in Appilacia where a spirit haunts the hills - two mysterise set in one story as historian tries to research the story of the woman whose spirit he unexpectedly encounters as he is hiking her path from Ohio back home where she had been murdered in the 1800's.
Marsha Henderson
Nov 19, 2015 Marsha Henderson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sharyn McCrumb is an excellent writer. She takes the old folk songs and tales of the Appalachian Mountains and weaves a story from research and imagination. You feel as if you could walk along a pine needle path to the door of an old cabin and walk in and know the aged and rugged people inside.
Feb 13, 2011 Melanti rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
With every book of this series that I read, I fall in love with the series a bit more.

The connecting theme of this book is journeying of various people (mostly females, including the land itself) trying to head home, and often finding a betrayal or unhappiness at the end of a journey.

I love how McCrumb takes several similar stories from the same town at the same time and interweaves them so they're being told all at the same time - and all progressing at about the same pace. It reminds me of inc
Here is another book that was reviewed, but I can not seem to find that review anywhere on GR.

I read this right after I finished the first Ballad book. I didn't have much interest in reading this but it was on my shelf and I wanted to get it out of the way so that my book case was purged of any McCrumb novels.

I liked this book better than I did If Ever I Return, pretty Peggy-O but not by much. The story and characters held my interest a bit more and the story-line didn't drag as badly as book #
Oct 21, 2014 Lynne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
McCrumb is a decent writer, and her stories are usually interesting... but... it wearies me when she waxes on so long about the Appalachians- their beauty and their people's specialness. Less of this would be much better for her tale.
Sarah Lewis
I read this book for our book club at our library. We all agreed that it was a pretty good book. This book is about many different people and their connection to each other. You have a 63 year old escaped convict, a female dispatcher who wants to be a deputy, a ghost, a history professor who tries to walk the 200 year old trail of a girl who escaped the indians, an old woman who has
"the sight", a radio dj who tries to solve an old murder, and many more. Some might say she has too many character
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
i need opinions!!! 4 41 Jan 04, 2013 06:04PM  
  • In a Dark Season (An Elizabeth Goodweather Appalachian Mystery #4)
  • The Unquiet Earth
  • Black Mountain Breakdown
  • The Coal Tattoo
  • The Tall Woman
  • Bootlegger's Daughter (Deborah Knott Mysteries, #1)
  • A Brace of Bloodhounds
  • Strong as Death (Catherine LeVendeur, #4)
  • Eye of the Storm
  • Turtle Baby (Bo Bradley, #3)
  • Cataloochee
Sharyn McCrumb is an American writer whose books celebrate the history and folklore of Appalachia. Educated at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Virginia Tech, she has also taught Appalachian studies. She is married to David McCrumb, a corporate environmental director, and has two children, Laura and Spencer.
More about Sharyn McCrumb...

Other Books in the Series

Ballad (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • If Ever I Return, Pretty Peggy-O (Ballad, #1)
  • The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter (Ballad, #2)
  • 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)
  • Nora Bonesteel's Christmas Past : A Ballad novella (Ballad, #11)

Share This Book

“Mountains have long-lost kinfolk on the other side of the Atlantic. The bloodline that marks that kinship is a vein of a green mineral called serpentine ...” 1 likes
“Oh, son, hardly anybody wants to leave. These mountains are more than just a place for folks around here.” 1 likes
More quotes…