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My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Here’s a great book that demonstrates the Author’s amazing ability to write from different perspectives.
Every chapter is done from the standpoint of one of the four protagonists: Beulah, Cora, Nettie Mae, and Clyde as they live and work together after a tragedy that places each one in a particular position of dealing with their past, grief, anger, love, hopes, and survival in the wilderness of Wyoming in 1872.
I was absorbed by the idea that author Olivia Hawker could get herself around each of the personalities so completely that they come to life as different persons in every chapter.
As the tale unfolds, it is often told two or three times but each time through immersion into the personality of the particular person whose mind we are reading. So in each case, the story takes on more life and depth rather than feeling like a repetition. Woven into the quartet of personalities who are thrown together by chance, infidelity, murder, and the needs to simply survive through a desperate winter, are the accidents, emergencies, floods, fires and chores that any farm person will understand and empathize with completely.
The underlying love/hate triangles are always changing in the book and are modified by the relationships that develop day by day, week by week in grueling situations and ordinary life patterns with which we can all empathize. The subtle undertow of the latent personality of the murdered husband, Substance, lies beneath this tale reappearing in a refusal to depart to the peace and quiet of Death. His memories are a rift between Cora and Nettie Mae. The maturing teenagers test the boundaries set by their parents and gradually form their own bonds. In the end, the realization by all that their lives are inseparably intertwined grows on each individual throughout the book. Excellent reading at bedtime. I would have given it 5 stars except for the author’s placement of the book in 1872 on the edge of the Bighorn Mountains which at that time would have been Cheyenne and Sioux controlled territory.
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