Plot: This is the story of three generations of women—Emily, her mother, Pam, and Pam's mother Kora—whose lives are interconnected through both the past and present. Family history, long-held secrets, mental illness, ambition, and the ties that connect families and bind them together come together to create a moving narrative of three women struggling to find their own way, despite their hardships.
Prose/Style: Starling's prose is fluid and beautiful, and the story, though it spans three generations of women, moves seamlessly between each woman's perspective. The passages about Kora are especially haunting and lovely, as she tries to free herself despite her imprisonment and terrible circumstances.
Originality: What makes this story original not its subject matter, but how well it's told—Starling jumps delicately between stories, creating connections for the reader and building plot and character relationships that are meaningful and emotional.
Character Development/Execution: Character is one of the strongest aspects of this narrative. All three women are developed beautifully and allowed to exist in their own space, while still clearly being connected to one another, not only through genetics, but through determination, strength, and love.
Date Submitted: August 31, 2021