by Julie HaleJanuary, 2003
The third entry in Shreve's New Hampshire trilogy, which includes The Pilot's Wife and Fortune's Rocks, features Sexton and Honora Beecher, newlyweds struggling to make ends meet during the Depression. When Sexton takes a job in the local mills, he befriends a gang of disgruntled employees itching to start a union a relationship that changes the Beechers' lives forever. Honora soon finds herself attracted to McDermott, a loom fixer and activist who has taken an 11-year-old mill worker into his care. But their love is an ill-fated one with disastrous repercussions. Shreve tells their story through shifting points of view, blending social and economic history with romance until the book's dramatic climax, which pits the union organizers against their employers. Full of rich period detail and unforgettable characters, her latest is a provocative examination of class and society in America. A reading group guide is included in the book.