This story takes an interesting look at a time period not often explored in teen fiction. The historical atmosphere never feels forced; the author never digresses into unnecessary detail at the expense of the plot. Essie is a strong, flawed girl, and her denial of her sister's death comes across as realistic, as does her relationship with Harriet, her mysterious and more educated friend. I enjoyed the book, although the flashbacks to Essie's relationship with her little sister didn't add as much depth as they could have, since she constantly thought about her sister throughout the action of the story anyway.
All in all, this book was a nice, middle of the road read with one extreme quality: It is knock-down, drag-out, no holds barred, Old Yeller SAD.
Recommend to: Age 13+, historical fiction fans, very girly girls, fans of The Luxe series.
Don't recommend to: Readers who like a lot of action.