nstead of retiring and fading into the sunset as he had planned, Bert Combs – lawyer, governor, judge, mountain man – began writing a whole new chapter of his life when he and his law clerk, Sara Walter, fell in love and got married. Chasing a dream in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, Bert and Sara bought an old farm and built a log house. Fern Hill was born! Far from the high-rise law offices of Louisville and Lexington, “Judge,” as Sara called him, raised a vegetable garden, cultivated roses, doted on miniature horses, and nurtured a host of stray cats and dogs.
Then, inspired by the mountain soil that energized him and by the mystique of Fern Hill, Combs agreed to represent a group of school superintendents seeking to reform Kentucky schools in Rose v. Council for Better Education, a case of unprecedented constitutional significance.
This is the story of the last thirteen years of Bert Combs’s life: his Fern Hill years.
It is filled with history and biography, hilarity and heartache, frustration and fulfillment. Most of all, it is a love story.