When I first started reading this story I thought it was a bit slow. But as the story went on I found myself enjoying it more and more. It’s an excellent piece of historical fiction, but it is also a great examination of the Trump era. Kingsolver dissects why a person would support a politician who offers them nothing more than the veneer of solace.
The reader can discern a lot of symbolism and parallels between today and the 1880s in the story eg, a house falling down, early resistance to Darwin’s theories, a new life, descent into disorder, the power of science/knowledge to help us find our way out of it, resilience, etc. There’s too many really to go into & there’s not much point going into them as I’m sure most readers won’t need to be told.
Surprisingly, I found Nick to be the most interesting character in the story, and also the moral fulcrum in many ways. Tig also had a role in this respect, but I felt she was more of a bridge to understanding and compassion, in much the same way that Mary Treat was. Even though Nick’s opinions were born of ignorance and fear, he was the one with the most to lose, the most vulnerable and most at risk at the hands of Trump’s America. Carruth on the other hand experienced the realisation of such harm, just not in the time of Trump.
I thought the mixing of real characters with fictional ones from the 1880s was deftly handled. This, along with the believable and very human present day characters helped to make this a very entertaining and thought provoking read.