This is a terrific book. I've read and admired Geraldine Brooks since reading March several years ago so I expected to like this a lot. She has the ability to create memorable characters who inhabit their surroundings in totally believable ways. But her settings are anything but commonplace. This novel is set in Puritan New England. This allows Brooks to probe an historical era with the benefit of hindsight, yet her description of the world of the young female protagonist seems totally authentic.
The reader observes Bethia's development as she matures from a headstrong adolescent into an adult who finds the wisdom and grace to be true to her nature without violating the narrow parameters set forth for women in the society she inhabits. It's an engrossing story of a struggle which seems both far away yet very familiar.