After almost fifteen years, Hebert has returned to this rich literary landscape for a new novel of the changing economic and social character of New England. Hebert's previous Darby book, Live Free or Die, recounted the ill-fated love between Freddie Elman, son of the town trash collector, and Lilith Salmon, child of Upper Darby gentility. At its conclusion, Lilith died giving birth to their son. As Spoonwood opens, Freddie, consumed by grief and anger and struggling with alcoholism, is not prepared to be a father to Birch. But as both his family and Lilith's begin to maneuver for custody of the child, Freddie embarks on a course of action that satisfies none of them.
Once again, Hebert masterfully conveys the natural and social landscape of contemporary rural New England. Grounded in complex, fully realized characters, Spoonwood offers Hebert's most optimistic vision yet of acceptance and accommodation across class lines.