This was one of those books that couldn't be put down. It started in a seemingly innocuous fashion. A wedding, irritating feelings between siblings and then wham the story started.
Placidia just 17 years old meets the Major at her step sisters wedding and within days is married to him. Days later after entering his rather mixed up household (baby son from a previous marriage, servants who are sullen and disorganised and a ramshackle household), Placidia is left high and dry literally holding the baby and being in charge of a farm of which she has no idea what to do. Never to let a challenge go unchallenged Placidia rises to the task in the absence of a husband whom she has fallen head over heels in love with and life goes on. Not smoothly, not easily but it does go on.
The descriptiveness of the American Civil War, the destruction it left behind, the conditions of slaves in the South all put together add to a huge part of the story and are part of the story itself. Placidia's life and the trauma she faces single handedly, with just the assistance of household help is amazing. The strength of her character and the fact that she is so courageous shines through.
All characters were beautifully crafted and fit into the story perfectly.
For a reader (like me) totally unaware of America's domestic history this was a fascinating read, and one I did not want to finish. Taking the story on for a couple of decades into the next generation of Placidia and the Major's children added another touch.
The book was sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Algonquin Books.