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by Carrie Mesrobian

Pub Date: Aug. 25th, 2020
ISBN: 978-0-7352-3195-5
Publisher: Dutton

Three young women in a rural Minnesota town navigate a pivotal summer under the watchful eye of a spirit with intimate ties to the land.

Midwife Carna and her daughter, Poppy, live with Carna’s Unitarian minister sister, Violet, and her daughters, Daisy and Lilah. The younger cousins love Poppy as a sister. Jane, a long-ago Irish immigrant whose spirit watches over the girls, thinks of them in the “colors of horses.” Poppy is a “golden palomino, prancing, arrogant.” Lilah, the second oldest, is a “flossy white unicorn, shimmering in her slightness,” and Daisy, the youngest, a girl who feels most at home among nature, is a “cautious dark bay whose eyes are always watching.” Jane, who narrates, focuses largely on 15-year-old Daisy, who dreams of Jane. After all, Jane was only 15 herself when she lost her sister, Bess, while aboard a ship to America. She married Bess’ intended, who couldn’t truly love her as a wife, and fell wildly, disastrously in love with Patrick, a stable hand in her husband’s employ. Emphasis is placed on the parallels between Jane’s life and the lives of the Whitsun girls: the complexities and joys of love and sex, unplanned pregnancies, mental illness, and the trials that women and girls often endure at the expense of their minds and bodies. All characters are assumed white.

A lush and beautifully written treat for readers of historical and contemporary fiction alike.

(historical sources) (Fiction. 14-18)