This was a very unusual story. A story telling of a very old fashioned kind. Julia Dewey has taken the subject of tuberculosis and entwined it in a story which made for very good reading Sounds improbable and I would not have believed it possible either but it is so.
Told from several viewpoints of characters who are interlinked to each other the stories set in the 1800s is at a time when the disease was considered incurable and entire communities were lost to it, leaving a survivor not just alone but destitute.
The story commences with Christine. She has lost two children to the disease and when her third Collette comes down with it, she is determined that at whatever cost she is not going to lose this child. At the same time she is faced with her husband who is terrified of the contagion and just wants to protect his surviving children also at any cost. The division of the family and the final breakdown of the family unit is also a tragic result of the illness. Christine and Collette make a brilliant life for themselves in a sanitarium which sounds idyllic ( I really wished that places like this would exist today for people faced with such life threatening illnesses). Whilst there Christine realizes that much more needs to be done and that funds are always needed to achieve this. She sets out to achieve just this and is brilliant at it.
The story continues with Collette and then to Amy, Daniel and Edward all characters linked to the story. Frankly and brutally told with no holds barred the story takes you not just into the illness but the implications that the illness had on people's lives at the time. It also marks the development of sanitariums and how the illness was treated and how new methods were improvised to keep it at bay.
An excellent read.