The Hudson River Valley, 1769: A man mysteriously disappears without a trace, abandoning his wife and children on their farm at the foot of the Catskill Mountains. At first many believe that his wife, who has the reputation of being a scold, has driven her husband away, but as the strange circumstances of his disappearance circulate, a darker story unfolds. And as the lines between myth and reality fade in the wilderness, and an American nation struggles to emerge, the lost man’s wife embarks on a desperate journey to find the means to ensure her family’s survival . . .
Relying heavily on inner dialogue and period details, Wade s debut novel examines the many sides of freedom from the perspective of an abandoned wife on the eve of the Revolutionary War. The book s narrator, an unnamed young mother of two on a farm at the base of the Catskill Mountains, must fend for herself after her husband leaves one evening and never returns. Facing the daunting challenge of singlehandedly caring for her son, daughter, and the farm with little help from a gossipy community, the narrator is brought to her wits end, yet sacrifices time and again for the sake of her children. As they age, however, the children also leave their mother: the son conscripted for the front lines of the Revolution and the daughter for a wider existence. Left completely alone, the woman once again faces her own limitations, until she encounters two possibly former slaves when she ventures off her farm. The three characters together face an uncertain future, all seeking the balance between freedom and stability that will allow for a better life. Overly long but with staccatos of nicely imagined activity, this is a historical novel for those with an appreciation for the interior lives of period figures.