Devastated. If there is one word I can use to describe my state of mind after finishing a great book, it is devastated.
In the excitement and stress of resigning from my day job, it took me a while to get through the first half, but I swallowed the rest whole today. And I am so happy to say that I am devastated that I am done reading it.
Abilene, a 12-year-old girl growing up during the Great Depression, arrives in Manifest, Kansas in a confused and transient state of mind. Her father has sent her to stay for the summer with people he knew eighteen years before, during another difficult time fraught with tyrannical coal mine owners, a Great War overseas, the spectre of Spanish Flu, and xenophobia. She is not sure why her father sent her, and she is reluctant to befriend anyone in the town, having grown up riding the rails with her father. However, she is curious about this town and its inhabitants, because she hopes it will help reveal her father’s past to her in a new way.
Through intimate and suspicious interactions with various townspeople, and a discovery of hidden treasure from the past, Abilene dusts off stories about the people her father once knew. And along the way, she discovers more about her father and herself than she expects.
I absolutely love the two layers of story wrapped up in this rich novel. If you’re a fan of mystery, historical fiction, and David-vs.-Goliath yarns, you’ll love this book, too.