In the spirit of nineteenth-century literature comes a meticulously crafted historical novel tinged with modern melancholy.
"This full-fledged first novel points, first, to the author's obvious understanding of the need for fluid, rather than obtrusive, use of history in fiction. It points, second, to the adjustments in social attitudes that European immigrants made when settling in America and settling into less-formal American customs. Readers quickly come to appreciate the correlation between Gregory's purposefully rich language and the florescent tone of the literature of the day. The time frame stretches—no suggestion here of any thinness of plot—from 1849 to 1929. The settings range from London to Philadelphia to the Wisconsin cities of Madison and Milwaukee to rural Iowa. The central thread is the life of Elizabeth Gow, who, as a young Englishwoman, accompanies her scholar father to America as he pursues better recognition of his erudition. Elizabeth's story is twofold: her coming-of-age and, after the early death of her father, her assumption of control over her future and fortunes—both aspects of the story leading to Elizabeth's transfiguration into an American."—Booklist