Whew. This one was an emotional doozy! From the first few pages where we learn about the death of Katherine's sister, through the entire novel as we see her deal with the depression and grieving of the loss of her twin, the reader is able to really feel the heartbreak and guilt that Katherine is feeling. And it's a hard read because of that!
Though we know from the very beginning of the loss of Anna, the details surrounding her death are slowly unfolded as the plot progresses. Katherine is obviously devastated at the death of her twin sister, but the emotional wreckage is ruining her life, causing her to seek out danger and push away those that wish to grieve with her, mainly her sister's boyfriend, Bennett. She has no support from her parents, both lost in their own worlds, so she repeatedly heads to the 1876 Centennial Fair, finding solace in something at the fairgrounds.
The scenes alternate between Katherine's manner of dealing with Anna's death and the months leading up to her death, a detail which I welcomed. I had a difficult time connecting with Katherine, but was able to find more of a connection through Anna during the flashbacks and was able better understand the relationship between the sisters. Katherine just had such strong, intense feelings of guilt and anger, that I felt a bit removed from her.
The amount of detail of Katherine's grief, loss, sadness, and guilt are overwhelming, and at times, a bit excessive. I really wish that Kephart had spent more time describing the Centennial Fair, as its a part of history that seems so interesting, yet I know very little about. And Katherine spent so much of her time there and it became an integral part of the story, yet the details on exhibits, vendors, performers, etc. were pretty lacking.
Overall, though I really enjoyed the author's writing and her manner of description, I didn't find anything super memorable about this one. If you're a fan of Kephart's work, or just a fan of historical fiction in general, you may want to give it a shot!
The cover is beautiful, one of my favorites this year I think. Very eye-catching in both color and design.
Overall rating: 3 out of 5
Review copy received from publisher
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