My rating: 3 of 5 stars
For me, this book was ‘meh’; ok, but nothing special. I didn’t quite get what I was expecting. I thought the book was going to be about the immigrant experience in the early 1800s. This was a family who immigrated from Ireland ca 1819. The mother immediatedly died in childbirth, and the father abandoned the remaining children soon after. From here, the story could have been about any family of struggling orphans of that time, whether or not they were recent immigrants. Instead the main focus of the story was about slavery; the injustice, the people risking their lives to either escape or aid escape. It was interesting, but I’d been looking forward to the immigrant story.
The focus aside, I found the book difficult to get through. At times the story would pick up steam, only to veer off again into a s-l-o-w moving portion. There were a lot of characters in the story; some with no real purpose. One example — after one brother attains some financial and social success, a cousin comes over from Ireland with proposition. It really didn’t add much to the story, and could have been omitted, allowing the story to progress more smoothly.
There was an epilogue of sorts; a chapter that jumped several decades into the future. Much of it was a rehash of the story, and much of it was confusing. It wasn’t satisfying in the way most epilogues are, but just made me antsy to get through it.
This wasn’t a terrible book; it just wasn’t one I was in the mood for. It may hit you differntly than it did me and become your ‘book of the year’ so give it a try!
I won a copy of this book through the Library Thing Early Reviewers program.
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