...[a] tender, astute look behind the scenes at a small-scale family farm in the years when the locavore movement was just taking hold ... The Excellent Lombards is about possession, succession and the uneasy balance of power between multigenerational farmers. Mary Frances goes by many names but as expertly rendered by Hamilton she’s a storybook character, an inquisitive, imperious but lovable girl akin to Harper Lee’s Jean Louise Finch, Rumer Godden’s Cecil Grey or Ian McEwan’s Briony Tallis.
[Hamilton's] penetration into the hearts of her characters is as profound, perhaps more so, than ever before ... This is a very fine novel: Its people, their individual predicaments and their relationships with one another and with the land stay with the reader long after that last page has been turned.
The Excellent Lombards is Hamilton’s seventh book, and though it is funny and heartbreaking, colored with a palpable wistfulness, it feels lighter than some of her earlier works ... But for all its simplicity, The Excellent Lombards is deeply affecting, a moving elegy for an idyllic way of life that’s slipping away as development and technology encroach and children grow up and away from rural pleasures.