by Francine Rivers
Illinois: Tyndale House, 2010.
At age twelve, Marta knows what she wants out of life - she wants to continue learning, leave her family home behind, and own her own boarding house or hotel. Her abusive father takes her out of school and makes her work for families in their hometown of Steffisburg, Switzerland, but Marta makes the most of all she learns so that she can attain her dream. Family ties back home threaten to break her, however, for her sick mother and her gentle sister Elise stay behind. Her mother encourages her to fly, and Marta determines to do so regardless of her father's plans for her.
Covering about 50 years from 1901 to 1951, this is the story of Marta and her oldest daughter, Hildemara, and how their relationship is shaped by Marta's past. The two of them have very different temperaments, and their points of view dominate the story, but I connected and sympathized with both women. Unfortunately, none of the other characters are as fleshed out as Marta or Hildie. Time moves by fast, too, so that I was left wanting more information, though the story covers nearly 500 pages. Maybe I'm just not cut out for family sagas - I wanted Marta to have a story of her own, with more details instead of the broad brush strokes required to cover so much time in a short space.