published by: Atria Books
publish date: January 1, 2013
In the years before the American Revolution, a woman’s husband mysteriously disappears without a trace, abandoning her and her children on their farm at the foot of the Catskill Mountains. At first many believe that the farm wife, who has the reputation of being a scold, has driven her husband away. But as the strange circumstances of his disappearance circulate, a darker story begins to unfold, sending the lost man's wife on a desperate journey to find the means and self-reliance to ensure her family’s survival.
I read up a little on this book before I started it. The write ups kept referencing American Folklore. I was really excited to see what folklore this story drew upon. I kept reading and reading and nothing was jumping out at me. It wasn't until the very end that it becomes obvious. I won't say what it is, because that ruins the whole mystery of the story, but it is an interesting story to come at from a different angle.
The main character is a difficult woman. Some readers may not care for her, because she is a hard and has had many disappointments in her life that have left her bitter and angry. However, there are flashes of how much she deeply loves her children. Her hardwork and resilience is to be admired.
Several of the chapters are told from the viewpoint of her daughter. I had more issues connecting with the daughter than I did the mother. I felt like she was spoiled and selfish. Her mother is having to work day and night to keep a farm running and the daughter spends all day at school and then complains about everything. I found her to be a little frustrating. However, her character seemed to be somewhat redeemed in the end.
In my 2012 reading I only gave a handful of books a 5 star rating on Goodreads and this was the last one. It's one of those books that's been lingering in the back of my mind since I've finished and that's always the mark of a great book.