Amelia Ruth Townsend was born in a house that stands near the railroad tracks in the Southern Section of Big Stone Gap, Virginia. Both her grandfathers mined coal in Keokee, Stonega and Roda. The family took Route 23 South to North Carolina when her grandfather retired. Townsend earned a BA in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has been a television news reporter, writer and free-lance producer/director. Currently, she lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Set in Southwest Virginia and inspired by actual events and the story of the small town’s most revered doctor, who may just be a serial killer. A local police officer with a tarnished reputation, a reporter who manipulated facts, and the doctor’s chief intern, who may be a thief, have pieces of the puzzle. Yet no one in authority believes the great doctor could be responsible. All the while, patients are dying.
What would you do if you had no home and no family? Where would you turn if every road ended at a brick wall? Sarah Bishop Hart, a small, gentle woman from the hills of Southwest Virginia, was born into a world without hope.
When she was five years old, her father hired her out to a family she had never met. From that day, Sarah never knew a real home or what it was like to have a true family. She ate from table scraps, slept in outbuildings, and never felt welcome –no matter where she was. She lived with one fiercely held desire‹ to have a home of her own. When she married the man of her dreams, a half-blood Indian with secrets of his own –Sarah thought she had realized her fantasy. Little did she know her troubles were just beginning.
Keepsakes for the Heart sets the life of Sarah Bishop Hart against the mountains and the coal mines, The Great Depression and two World Wars, the women’s movement, and other upheavals of the twentieth century. Sarah’s simple mountain philosophy offers a lesson to anyone who has ever thought about giving up, “You can be anything you want. You just got to be tough as an old pine knot. Trust God to take care of you. And keep the good things in your heart. Pull them out to keep you going when times are bad.”