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Cecelia Loring is alone in the world after the death of her mother and has come to the Kentucky mountains in search of work. Although very depressed from her loss she soon becomes caretaker of the garden at a school and not many days later finds herself quite busy as housemother to a group of energetic boys that keep running away from the school because of homesickness, especially Nucky, who seems to have the weight of the world on his shoulders, worrying about not being at home to help his brother Blant "keep lookout" for the Cheevers, who have been at war with the Marrses for years over a piece of land. Can she find a way to make the boys feel at home so they will stay and get an education? And can they begin to help her heal the broken places in her heart?Lucy Furman based several of her novels, including Mothering on Perilous, on her years as a teacher and housemother at the Hindman Settlement School in Kentucky. Through her experiences at the school her writing vividly portrays the beauty, but also the harshness of mountain life.