From Library Journal
Aimee Slater is a young women struggling to find herself among the traditions of a 19th-century New Hampshire town and the burgeoning factory life of Lowell, Massachusetts. Alternating between her past and present experiences, she melds a story of family relations, her desire to succeed, and her attempt at an independent life. Her parents reluctantly allow her to leave home for the "City of Spindles," yet almost immediately she mourns their absence. Is the wedge between her and her family created by her headstrong choices, as her mother claims, or does she simply draw deeper inside herself as a result of events she cannot understand? Like Ellen Glasgow's Barren Ground (1925), Aimee's struggle takes place in the absence of any strong male presence. This is a captivating novel about regrets, action, and reaction and the final achievement of understanding and contentment. Graver's first attempt to deviate from her well-received short stories (Have You Seen Me?, LJ 7/91) is a success. Recommended for readers who enjoy history, women's development, and mother-daughter issues.?Laurel Duda, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Mass.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Aimee Slater, born in 1829, grows up on a small New Hampshire farm, always wanting, always filled with desire for something else, for more. In a story that moves back and forth in time from Aimee's childhood, to her year from 15 to 16 in the textile mills of Lowell, Massachusetts, to her present when she lives alone on the edge of her parents' property, Graver holds us in Aimee's heart and mind. It is a scary place, so full of need. In exquisite prose that draws on contemporary accounts, history, and local folklore, Graver spins out the relationships between Aimee and her siblings, the townsfolk, the other girls at the mill, her lovers, but most especially, her relationship with her mother. Its unrelieved and tangled intensity is the book's core. Occasionally, Aimee's voice sounds a bit too modern, and incest, pregnancy out of wedlock, and mental and physical disabilities are sometimes cast in ways that seem too twentieth century, but Graver's mastery of emotional resonance carries the reader along. GraceAnne A. DeCandido