Synopses & Reviews
"When 18-year-old orphan Esther Chambers heads west in 1896 to live with her last surviving relative, she is timid and twitchy and narrator Tavia Gilbert skillfully portrays those qualities. Creating a voice that is self-conscious and wistful, Gilbert perfectly captures the slightly traumatized and wistful Esther. For the novel's many male characters, Gilbert depicts the rough accents and slowed cadences of the American West without resorting to cowboy caricature. She also does a masterful job in her portrayal of Pick, Esther's distant cousin, who has big dreams for the tiny Oregon outpost called Century. In the novel's highly emotional conclusion, however, Gilbert's characterization of Esther falls flat. The character has changed dramatically over the course of the story, but the narrator's interpretation remains largely the same. The girlish vocalization Gilbert uses so successfully at the beginning of the novel fails to match Esther's newfound courage and confidence. A Farrar, Straus and Giroux hardcover. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.