The Tender Grave by Sheri Reynolds

When 17-year-old Dori goes on the run to escape prosecution for a brutal hate crime against a local gay boy, her only option is to seek out an older half-sister who she’s never met—a lesbian who is trying to start a new family of her own.


Coming March 2021

From the author of the New York Times #1 bestseller, The Rapture of Canaan, and steeped in the rich tradition of Southern writers like Carson McCullers and Sue Monk Kidd, The Tender Grave is the gripping story of two estranged sisters who find their unlikely way toward forgiveness—and each other—through a gruesome and disturbing set of circumstances.

Dori, at age 17, participates in a hate crime against a gay boy from her school and runs away to escape prosecution—and her own harrowing childhood. In her pocket, she carries the address of an older, half-sister she’s never met. She has no idea that her sister Teresa is married to another woman, or that Teresa and Jen have tried and failed repeatedly to start their own family though unsuccessful insemination attempts. When Dori and Teresa finally meet, they’re forced to confront that, while they don’t like or really even understand one another, they are inextricably bound together in ways that transcend their differences. Together, the sisters discover that shifting currents of family and connection can sometimes run deeper than the prevailing tides of abandonment and estrangement.

In The Tender Grave, Sheri Reynolds weaves complex themes of parenting, forgiveness, guilt, and accountability into a lyrical and lushly-woven tapestry that chronicles our enduring search for home, heart, and healing.

SHERI REYNOLDS is the author of the novels Bitterroot LandingThe Rapture of Canaan (an Oprah book club selection and New York Times bestseller), A Gracious PlentyFirefly CloakThe Sweet In-BetweenThe Homespun Wisdom of Myrtle T. Cribb, and the full-length play, Orabelle’s Wheelbarrow. She teaches creative writing and literature at Old Dominion University, where she is the Ruth and Perry Morgan Chair of Southern Literature. She lives in the town of Cape Charles on Virginia’s eastern shore.

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