First Lines: I know a place on this earth that contains wonders enough to stop the breath. A place where the very rocks whisper and whine, where the rivers boil and the snow-studded peaks trust into a bowl of blue; where great shaggy beasts press the earth with cloven hooves or threaten with claw and fang; where new life and lurking death coexist in the shallows of varicolored pools. I went to this place to search for what I had lost, but instead found a life unexpected.
I didn’t want to make that quote so long, but the second sentence just keeps going and going. Then, I was like, “What the heck. Throw on that last sentence as well.” So there you have it: possibly the longest quote I’ve added here to date.
This is one that’s been on my to-read list for some time, but I didn’t read it until now because I mentally keep getting it mixed up with another book that I don’t want to read. So it got pushed off until I finally picked a title semi-randomly and this was it.
It’s 1904 and Maggie has everything she wants in Newport, Rhode Island. Well, almost everything. A year ago, her mother vanished, the only clue being her robe near the waterfront outside their house. Maggie’s convinced her mother is still out there somewhere and not dead like everyone else believes. When her father tells her there’s a chance her mother has been hiding out West, Maggie latches onto that hope. But she’s also completely distraught and frustrated that her father wants her to leave everything she knows on the eve of her debut into society. In Montana, Maggie meets the frustrating yet handsome Tom Rowland, who quickly becomes her friend. The more time Maggie spends away from home, the more she struggles with what she wants and who she wants to be.
I’m a sucker for turn-of-the-century novels. The stories still feature a world that is old-fashioned (I love the debuts, the dresses, the balls. I don’t so much love the way men owned women), but it’s also modern (the railways, airplanes, the beginning of women’s suffrage). Strong girls in this time rule.
And Maggie was amazing. She’s like me, only I wouldn’t have taken crap like that from men. Of course, that’s probably because of the age in which I grew up, but still. She reminded me a lot of myself. She was far from perfect, which made her so relatable and awesome.
Each character was so different. Tom was sweet when he wanted to be, but he tended to be a little scary in my opinion when he got riled up. Mrs. Gale is that grandma-esque personality Maggie needed in her life since her mother left. Graybull…he’s sorta cookie cutter, but I won’t tell you how because it may ruin a little of it. 🙂
What I thought was most unique about this story is that it took place in Yellowstone National Park. It’s a setting I don’t think I have run across for a novel before, though after reading this, I can’t understand why. It’s such an amazing backdrop for a story. So much can happen there. And there’s so much history! I knew Yellowstone had been turned into a national park not long before this story took place. It was part of Teddy Roosevelt’s attempts to preserve parts of America and its wildlife. So I was thrilled to learn more about it. (It’s times like these I wonder why I’m majoring in English instead of history.)
And there’s a very nice little mystery through the story, mostly revolving around where Maggie’s mother is. So many things took me by surprise through it all.
Overall, I thought it was tremendous. The mystery, some romantic tensions, the thrill of being set in a place I know little of, and some amazing history. Loved it.