This is the second book in the "Beulah Land" trilogy, and far more brutal than the first.This is a story of the violent and hardscrabble Reconstruction era in the South following the Civil War. The Elk family, which has long loathed the Kendrick family, takes advantage of the Union presence to try to bring low the people of Oaks and Beulah Land. Atrocities are committed that brought me to tears, despite an understanding that these were things that really did happen in the past. What this told me is that Lonnie Coleman's characters have become dear to me over time, developed so carefully that they are like real people and not just words on a page.This was a hard read for me; as I mentioned, I wept at more than one point while reading. Those who are interested in outstanding historical fiction would enjoy this book; it is possible to read it without having first read "Beulah Land," but I think that reading the first book makes this one all the more poignant.