Shadows of Pecan Hollow
By: Caroline Frost
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: 02/08/2022
My Rating: 4 Stars
“Paper Moon meets Badlands in this mesmerizing Texas backroads thriller, a twisty story of a runaway girl who finds a home and a desperate love on the road with an opportunistic criminal, and the long comet’s tail of their story. A notable debut, drenched in regional detail and told in a gritty, sensual prose.”—Janet Fitch, #1 New York Times bestselling author of White Oleander
Set in Texas in the 1970s and 90s, Shadows of Pecan Hollow is a literary debut about a fierce woman and the partner-in-crime she can’t escape, perfect for readers of Where the Crawdads Sing and Valentine.
It was 1970 when thirteen-year-old runaway Kit Walker was abducted by Manny Romero, a smooth-talking, low-level criminal, who first coddled her and then groomed her into his partner-in-crime. Before long, Kit and Manny were infamous for their string of gas station robberies throughout Texas, making a name for themselves as the Texaco Twosome.
Twenty years after they meet, Kit has scraped together a life for herself and her daughter amongst the pecan trees and muddy creeks of the town of Pecan Hollow, far from Manny. But when he shows up at her doorstep a new man, fresh out of prison, Kit is forced to reckon with the shadows of her past, and her community is sent into a tailspin.
This gritty, penetrating, and unexpectedly tender novel ensnares the reader in its story of resilience and bonds that define us. With its rich rural landscape, indelible characters, and striking regional language, Shadows of Pecan Hollow is a hauntingly intimate and distinctly original debut about the complexity of love—both romantic and familial—and the strength and vulnerability of womanhood.
“Demonstrating a polished sense of setting and characterization, Frost crafts a deftly complex, psychologically astute, and deeply unsettling debut novel.” —Booklist
“This is a truly great year for Texas crime novels, and Shadows of Pecan Hollow is no exception.”
“[C]aptivating…The author does a bang-up job…creating the perfect storm of circumstances.”
-- Publishers Weekly
“How do we let go of a dark, menacing past, especially when a dangerous love still binds us to it? Frost’s extraordinary debut is about Kit, a young mother struggling to raise her daughter, and to erase her abduction at 13 by a thief, who coerced her into crime and into his heart. Dazzling, unexpected and profound, this is a shattering page-turner about how love can twist our lives into something we no longer recognize, and how we might find our way back to our best selves and to the communities that just might save us. In a word: brilliant.”
-- Caroline Leavitt, bestselling author of With or Without You
“’Paper Moon’ meets ‘Badlands’ in this mesmerizing Texas backroads thriller, a twisty story of a runaway girl who finds a home and a desperate love on the road with an opportunistic criminal, and the long comet’s tail of their story. A notable debut, drenched in regional detail and told in a gritty, sensual prose.”
-- Janet Fitch, #1 New York Times bestselling author of White Oleander
“What immense talent flows through this spellbinding story! Everything is here: magnetic characters, fierce momentum, and great authenticity of voice, place and thought. I was stunned in the best possible way throughout. How does Caroline Frost do it, I marveled; how does she know this? What an amazing, rewarding feat of craftsmanship and love!”
-- Elinor Lipman, author of Rachel to the Rescue
“Shadows of Pecan Hollow is a hugely satisfying slow burn of a novel that builds to a wrenching, unforgettable blaze. Frost explores the lives of her complex, arresting characters with nuance, compassion, and an unwavering gaze. Highly recommended.” -
- Lou Berney, Edgar-award winning author of November Road
“With a strong sense of time and place, Caroline Frost's debut novel weaves an authentic southern tale of need, necessity, survival, and forgiveness, with love as the enduring force that guides.”
-- Deb Spera, author of Call Your Daughter Home
“Caroline Frost's beautiful and clear-eyed debut captures the huge comfort of even deeply flawed love and how our urge for survival can distort our lives as easily as it can straighten them into something true. But it also shows us that with enough patience, for ourselves as well as for others, we all have the capacity to heal even the most stubborn of wounds. These are characters you'll carry with you long after you've read the last page.”
-- Stacey Swann, author of Olympus, Texas
"He’s a charismatic criminal; she’s a dirt-streaked runaway who doesn’t feel pain. Their ensuing crime spree sits like a rock in your stomach, and fifteen years later, when he comes back to haunt her, you'll reach for your phone to dial 911. In this gorgeous, completely addictive debut of love gone bad, Caroline Frost churns up an atmosphere sinister and sour as wind whipping off the oil rigs in Galveston—and a heroine so toughened and feral, readers won't want to step out of her brave, quick-witted, leather-bound hide for a single moment."
-- Barbara Bourland, author of Fake Like Me
About the Author
Photo by Bob Turton
Caroline Frost has a Master of Professional Writing degree from the University of Southern California and is a licensed marriage and family therapist.
Although she currently resides in Pasadena, California, with her husband and three small children, her roots in Texas run deep. Shadows of Pecan Hollow is her first novel. READ MORE