PositiveThe Washington PostSilva succeeds in making Wollstonecraft a vibrant and forceful personality, full of both love and fury ... her wonder at Wollstonecraft can sometimes seem heavy-handed, and Mrs. B — her story, the voice Silva gives her — is not as compelling as Wollstonecraft. It is in Wollstonecraft’s own sections, when she relates her life in chronological order, that the story most comes alive ... This is a lot of life to cover in roughly 200 pages. The later sections of the novel can feel a little rushed, in part because the backdrop is so huge. The French Revolution, for instance, deserves more than the 25 pages Silva is able to give to Wollstonecraft’s more than two years in France ... But the earlier sections move more slowly, and Silva paints a convincing portrait of a girl finding her way in the world — learning to trust her own feelings of injustice, unearthing a world of intellect and ideas via a friend’s father ... vivid, flawed, larger than life. Silva gives us a Wollstonecraft who is not overshadowed by historical forces, but who is instead herself a force of nature — and history.
PositiveThe Washington PostGodwin may flirt with the magical, but she deals firmly with the realism of depression and loss. It’s those psychological ghosts that Grief Cottage is really about ... And at times, Marcus is too good to be true. He’s awfully knowing for a grief-stricken young boy ... But Marcus’s story remains beguiling, with its array of Southern characters, each living in a cottage of grief with their own ghosts and their own ways of finding a way forward.