This book is a collection of stories about the last inhabitants of a village just north of Gloucester, MA in the early 1800s. There is a wide variety of individuals.
There is Black Ruth. A black woman who dresses like a man and who is a stone mason. She lives with Easter Carter, the local witch. Easter runs a sort of local bar and dispenses fortunes along the way.
There is Oliver Younger, whose aunt treats him more like a slave than a relation. Mrs. Stanley operates the local brothel and provides customers for Polly and Sally. Mrs. Stanley's grandson also lives there.
There is Cornelius Finson, a freed slave. He is in love with Judy Rhines. A forbidden love which makes each of them the lonliest person alive.
This book details each of their stories and how they came to leave Dogtown. It is a read about hardship and endurance and about love and loss. I loved the eccentricities of each of the individuals and how Judy Rhines seemed to be the glue holding everyone together.
First Line: "Judy Rhines decided to take the footpath through the pasture"