Fans of This is Us will love this emotional journey of car ownership, a must-read book for readers of family fiction and rural fiction, and the perfect gift for car enthusiasts and those who love books about the resiliency of the human spirit.
Hardship looms large in the tiny towns of a rural county, where seven ordinary lives entangle, tied together by the extraordinary relationships they share with a little green Jeep. Of Metal and Earth tells their forty-year story of restoration and redemption.
Connected by their failures, neglect, and salvation, their personal tales intersect in a story that is easy to fall into and hard to let go of.
In 1964, James returns to Elk River from the Vietnam War, where he hid beneath a little green Jeep, watching his friends die on the battlefield. Emotionally paralyzed and with nothing to fight for, he turns to the only salvation he knows and buys a little green Jeep of his own. Running from his troubles, he gets a flat tire on the road out of town and is forced to ask the elderly owner of a farm for help. There, he finds more than just the tools to fix his car. He finds a job and, among the rolling hills, he finds comforting isolation, contentment, and Claire. Getting to know her jeopardizes the seclusion he relies on, a risk that pays off when they start a family and James finds a part of himself that he thought he’d lost forever.
But soon, the life they built is threatened. James could lose Claire and everything he loves forever. He must seek salvation once more – in the form of his little green Jeep.
Over the next thirty years, the Jeep changes hands, passing between friends, family, strangers, and lovers. A single mother who buys a car for her reckless son nearly destroys a friendship with a man who silently loved her for two decades. An insecure youth at the start of his career learns that the most important lessons are the ones you never set out to learn. A family torn apart by their differences finds that love can be the hardest road to take. And a city architect must choose between the easy way out or a difficult path to restoration that could save more than just a rusty old Jeep.