Set against the unexpected splendor of an ostrich ranch in the California desert, April Dávila’s beautifully written debut conjures an absorbing and compelling heroine in a story of courage, family and forgiveness.
When Tallulah Jones was thirteen, her grandmother plucked her from the dank Oakland apartment she shared with her unreliable mom and brought her to the family ostrich ranch in the Mojave Desert. After eleven years caring for the curious, graceful birds, Tallulah accepts a job in Montana and prepares to leave home. But when Grandma Helen dies under strange circumstances, Tallulah inherits everything—just days before the birds inexplicably stop laying eggs.
Guarding the secret of the suddenly barren birds, Tallulah endeavors to force through a sale of the ranch, a task that is complicated by the arrival of her extended family. Their designs on the property, and deeply rooted dysfunction, threaten Tallulah’s ambitions and eventually her life. With no options left, Tallulah must pull her head out of the sand and face the fifty-year legacy of a family in turmoil: the reality of her grandmother's death, her mother's alcoholism, her uncle's covetous anger, and the 142 ostriches whose lives are in her hands.
“Vivid…uplifting…The fascinating details of operating an ostrich ranch elevate this family tale.”
“Tension mounts in every chapter, and when the difficult forces converge in the satisfying climax, Tallulah discovers clarity. This is an enjoyable, winning, interesting novel for readers of many backgrounds.”
—Booklist (starred review)
“A story told with depth and beauty about the many things we inherit from our families. Dávila’s characters are familiar, yet unforgettable, and I’m waiting patiently for what she writes next.”
—Wayétu Moore, author of She Would Be King