Hand-Me-Down Sins is a novel of broken family relationships, misdeeds, revenge, punishments, and finally, redemption of sorts. The author warns us at the very beginning of the book that “revenge comes in many forms and that some payoffs are sweeter than others.” Although thoroughly entertaining, this is not a book for the emotionally faint of heart. So be warned. Hand-Me-Down Sins is a wonderfully entertaining romp about a poor little girl who is done wrong by a very big bad powerful man and how she gets amusing revenge.
Valerie Petersen’s is one of the most appealing writer’s voices I know—nimble, larky, smart, grave, musical, painterly, acrobatic, delightful. In this revenge novel that is at once acid and humane, Petersen shows herself to be the Barbara Tuchman of family warfare. The guns of August in the Berkshires are emotional and verbal, and woe unto the greedy or just the merely too snooty. Hand-Me-Down Sins is a superb novel of rough justice that also happens to be terrific fun.
—Richard Lipez, author and Washington Post book reviewer
by Valerie Petersen