[The book is] the kind of historical fiction that launches a thousand Ancestry.com searches and sends readers to their favorite search engine mid-paragraph to find out who is and isn’t an actual historical figure. It’s also something of a feminist tome set in an era before its time, belying its title in a good way ... It’s a gut-wrenching drama with all too real human consequences, a true tale that sits at the heart of this novel ... Overall, the novel could have been streamlined to a wonderful 300 pages, instead of a sometimes tedious 400-plus.
Gaynor has woven a good story here, as she travels backward and forward in time to connect these women’s lives. Her command of the language is excellent, her ability to put the reader right in the story—experiencing the tragedies and the joys—along with the characters, is well done. If there is anything that draws one away, it is her use of three first-person points of view as well as two third person POVs. It is often confusing and difficult to determine who’s mind we are in ... Having said that, the story is well laid out, all of the clues are tied up at the end of the story, and it is a satisfactory read.
I’m happy to say [the novel] exceeded all my expectations, cementing Ms. Gaynor’s place on my list of auto-buy authors ... If you’re a reader who enjoys stories based around a historically documented event, this is definitely the book for you ... I can only speak to the huge amounts of joy I got from reading this engrossing tale that examines the lives of two very different women who live a century and an ocean apart, but who are linked by a shared history and a compulsion to do what is right at all costs. It’s a novel that is sure to enchant readers from the very first page and keep them reading late into the night.
Gaynor’s writing is capable, though the story is slight and the link between centuries feels tenuous at times. The novel will appeal to fans of low-key women’s fiction, but readers looking for drama won’t find it here.