I liked this book. The writing was good, but I felt at times there was too much ado about nothing when it came to the main character. It was interesting to see how a young lady who had no real education outside her mother's teachings about herbs, and roses in particular, was able to end up in such a position of wealth and influence. It seemed to me that a lot of what fortune did fall upon the main character did so due to luck, and really nothing else.
One thing that I didn't really understand was the reluctance of the peasants to embrace the new ideas and their new mistress. I think that could have been explained a bit better, and I did think the relationship between the main character and her mother-in-law went from bad to good too quickly. I guess I also didn't understand her mother-in-law's aversion to her at first.
In any event, like the back cover says, it is a sweeping tale and it does deal heavily with life as a Shaker, something I found very, very interesting. I had no idea of their customs or beliefs, and I felt the author did an amazing job of researching the many topics in the book. She has a knack for painting pictures of places so the reader feels as though he or she is there. For that reason, and because even though I had some minor issues with the plot itself, I couldn't stop reading, I'm giving this book a solid 4-star review.