This is almost a very good book. It certainly is a memorable one, and many cuts above the average romance rooted in history and the growth of an industry. And yet it is this very division of background that militates against the sustained interest of the book. The period covered opens with the darkest days of carpetbagger domination in post-war Virginia, with America Moncure battling her youth and courage and integrity against the forces of evil, to hold her family together and keep the plantation going. Then it shifts to Kentucky, a frontier that has escaped the ravages of war, where ""Merry"" finds bitter happiness, in her love for a river gambler, and where she builds her own life against tradition. Finally, it carries through the drama of the tobacco, the years long battle between the trusts and the growers, to a costly victory. An outstanding portrait of a woman and a period.