Searching for an escape from mediocrity, the young heroine of The Clam Shell leaves her hometown of Canona, West Virginia, and enters a Southern women's college. She is not destined for a safe path, however, and her violent awakening comes in the form of a brutal sexual assault through which she ultimately discovers her own hidden strength. Set in 1936, The Clam Shell continues the mesmerizing story Settle began in The Love Eaters.
Mary Lee Settle's major work is The Beulah Quintet, and her Blood Tie was the winner of the National Book Award. Settle has received an Award for Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and awards from the Southern Regional Council, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Merrill Foundation. She is the founder of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. The author, most recently, of Choices, Settle's backlist is published with new introductions by the author by the University of South Carolina Press. She lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.