Gamble has crafted an epic tale of antebellum America as seen through the eyes of immigrants. While some plot contrivances mar the otherwise excellent story, readers will enjoy this unconventional family. For all historical fiction collections.
Gamble adeptly chronicles Olivia’s transformation from a free-thinking but unaffected young woman into a determined widow who wants to indirectly avenge Tilly. This is a standout depiction of family dynamics, and will appeal to fans of fiction set in pre–Civil War America.
Gamble’s writing is delicate when she’s describing the natural world ... The plot can feel uneven at times, lingering too long on certain scenes and glossing over others too quickly. However, as the narrative structure becomes clearer, the novel’s proclivity for detail feels purposeful rather than tedious. It’s a book that would benefit from a reread—if only to catch all the hints along the way ... A sprawling yet richly drawn family saga.