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329 pages, Hardcover
First published May 14, 2013
“In Catawissa sometimes the dead don’t stay where you put them.”What a pleasant little surprise. This is the second book set in the 19th century I've read in as many days, but with drastically different results. You see, this book is good. The setting is authentic. The mystery is compelling (although a little bit of a far stretch at some points). The main character is so well written, Verity is strong without being obstinate, flawed without being intolerable. And the romance. THE ROMANCE. *swoon*
“I thought love was—big and loud and sudden, like a thunderbolt.” She looked back, meeting his eyes. “I didn’t know it was deep and quiet and grew upon a woman slowly, until one day she realizes it’s the very breath and smiles and tears of her life."Come closer, let me whisper you a secret. I might never say these words again in my life. I loved the romance and I enjoyed the love triangle. There. I said it. It almost feels like a confessional, I feel so....dirty. I mean, a love triangle? Really, Khanh? Have you lost your bloody mind?
In spite of her father’s denial, her mother must have done something that made her an outcast, she and her brother’s wife between them—something that resulted in their burial outside a Christian cemetery.The Setting & Plot: The setting is a small-rural farming town in Pennsylvania. It feels authentic, the speech does not stand out as being too modern, the details of life are similarly circumspect. The atmosphere in the town is very well developed, the Revolutionary War is long, long past, but it feels like it only happened yesterday, according to town alliances. People whose family fought on the wrong side (the British side) of the war are shunned, ostracized from village society. The American Civil War has also recently passed, but not gone, and we still feel the impact of it within the book. I really appreciate these small details that add to the authenticity of the setting.
Turning from the window and laying down her hairbrush, she tried not to think that returning to Catawissa had been a mistake.
Verity cringed with embarrassment. Yes, the man had startled her, but she’d run screaming from the sight of him like a half-witted female in one of those dime novels Polly Gaines liked so much. Verity had taken offense when her uncle belittled the Pooles, but she’d behaved no better today. She hung her head in shame.The relationships between characters are wel well written in this book, and I particularly loved the growing development and love between Verity and her stranger of a father. Her father is such an awkward man, he grieves for his wife still, and hardly knows his daughter for most of her life. Still, he loves her, and he wants what's best for her, and it is just so nice to read about such a caring parent who tries so hard to be a good father despite not knowing how. He knows his daughter's trepidation towards her arranged marriage, and reassures her when he sees her hesitancy.
“You don’t have to marry him, Verity.” Ransloe Boone waved his hand. “Ring or no ring—promise or no promise."And I love Nate, oh, how I love Nate.
“I’m content with the match,” she assured him.
He nodded slowly, but as he left the room to retire for the night, he muttered, “Rather see you happy than content.”
She didn’t know if she was in love with either one of them. Attracted to both of them in different ways, yes—but how, at seventeen, was she supposed to recognize love? Wasn’t it supposed to be obvious? Shouldn’t she feel it in every breath and heartbeat?Verity KNOWS that it is wrong to feel such emotions towards both men, and even more so while she is engaged. She recognizes her fault, and she is confused, and I find that completely believable and understandable. She hates herself for her conflicting emotions, and feels that she is a "wanton girl." Yes, she is wishy-washy in more than one way, and sometimes I got frustrated with her internal conflict, but it is so understandable and the conflict was so well done that I really enjoyed it. And really, there was no question at all, since the very beginning, as to whom Verity would choose.