When her worn out, dying mother tells her to leave the hardscrabble mountain farm on Big Pine and make “a life
that I can’t even imagine,” plucky Jo Salter does just that. Blessed with an
uncanny gift for numbers, she soon finds employment at a booming bank in
booming Asheville. The year is 1929. And things are about to change.
Rich in history
and detail, The Sky Club by Terry Roberts chronicles the years of boom
and bust, as Jo pinballs from the proud mansions and institutions of Asheville’s
elite to the smoky, steamy, jazz-fueled speakeasy atop Beaucatcher Mountain.
She can hold her own in either setting, but she is increasingly drawn to the jazz and the dancing at The Sky Club—and to its manager, the mysterious Levi Arrowood--a far piece from anything her mother might have imagined.
Jo is a true
mountain woman, forthright, resilient, and independent as a hog on ice. Her story, set in a pivotal moment in history, is a delight. For those of us familiar with the area, Roberts’ s
meticulous account of familiar places is an special added attraction.
I've spoken of Terry and his books before. He has kin in Madison County--a great-great (or so) grandfather lies in the cemetery next to one of our pastures. He has a real feeling for and gift of bringing this beloved place to the page. And of all his books, I believe that this one is my favorite. Jo Salter is a woman to remember.