Jolene Brodie was abandoned by her addict mother on the steps of her spinster aunt’s door at eight years old. She’s spent the last thirteen years living in the shadow of the pain her mother caused and trying to prove herself worthy of her aunt’s stingy love. Unintentionally she becomes pregnant. When the father refuses her and her aunt kicks her out, Jolene tries to outrun her shame by heading to the mountains. Homeless, penniless, alone, and chased by demons from her past in this new place, she makes friends who help and hinder. She is forced to confront exactly who she is, what she wants, and what she is willing to do to get it.
Set on the coast of South Carolina and the mountains of Western North Carolina, geography and a sense of place are central to Songbirds and Stray Dogs. This is a Southern story, born of sweet tea and the Bible Belt, chow-chow and cornbread, shot guns and porch rocking. But it is also a universal story of escaping the burden of your past and finding yourself at home in a strange land.