With a Hammer for My Heart is the story of Lawanda, a precocious, poverty-stricken fifteen-year-old girl from Cardin, Kentucky, who dreams of attending college. When Lawanda's friendship with an alcoholic World War II veteran named Garland is misinterpreted by their fellow townspeople, a tragedy calls her future into question.
A rich tale of healing, redemption, and social responsibility. - Publishers Weekly ""A compelling, skillfully told story.... Lyon's finest achievement."" - Lexington Herald-Leader ""Lyon gives readers a story rich in precise, gorgeous language that glows like a sword on the forge and cuts as deep.... Tragedies old and new weave a tiny Kentucky town into the center of the universe."" - Booklist (starred review) ""Lyon consistently reveals in her work an ability to render the peculiarities of the people and the places she knows best, while at the same time exploring concerns that lend her stories and poems universal appeal. The same is true of With a Hammer for My Heart, a powerful first novel that catapults Lyon into the ranks of other well-respected contemporary novelists."" - The Southern Register