... expands this distinctly American drive across the span of a century and the breadth of the country. McPhee has earned this sweep: Over five novels she has developed such a sophisticated grasp of social-climbing characters that she’s able to track three generations with an easy grace many historical novels lack.
A richly animated work, McPhee’s enthralling new novel glides through American history, from early-twentieth-century Billings, Montana, to a Prohibition-era Adirondacks lakeside retreat and beyond, alongside fabulous characters ... The frequent mentions of hereditary artifacts feel overdone at times. Overall, however, McPhee elevates the generational saga into a dazzling, artfully detailed presentation of self-determination, women’s responsibilities and freedoms, and how people craft family legacies.
The novel falters somewhat once the sisters separate, speeding up to cover their adult lives and those of the next two generations ... There is so much history packed into the pages through eloquent summary that the slower-paced scenes truly stand out ... The writing is at its best in these tense moments, when no amount of name-changing can afford the characters any escape.