At first, the title didn't make sense to me (based on the synposis that was provided on BookishFirst), but I found the synopsis intriguing. When I started on the opening chapters, I was immediately sucked into this story. Primarily historical fiction, this book has a bit of magical realism, which is not normally associated with historical fiction. But the magical realism aspect fit beautifully with the peoples and the timeframes described. In particular, New Orleans has long had an association with what is commonly called "voodoo" or "juju". So it made sense and did not take away from the historical aspects (the slave trade, the underground railroad, the revolts).
I thought it was brilliant how the author wove together the story of each woman, connecting them through the generations. The historical backdrops of Haiti and New Orleans felt so real. Ms. Woods beautifully describes the setting of each location, making the sights, smells and sounds feel as if you were actually there. Ms. Woods does a fabulous job of creating believable protagonists who struggle against incredible obstacles.
A couple of things I thought could be strengthened that would make it a 5-star read. First, Gaelle's story has some connection to the past, but not as strongly as I thought it might have. I would've liked to have seen a bit more of her history from Haiti and more about her gift. Second, I also struggled with the synopsis as written here. The one on the ARC currently says the story is about 3 women, but there are really 4. Then there's really little connection between Gaelle (present day) and Remembrance other than the "elderly woman who is more than she seems" (per the blurb above). Of course, if Gaelle's backstory of Haiti and her gift could have been developed a bit more, I think that may better connect her to Remembrance. Third, I thought Winter's story bogged down, particularly after she was captured by the slavers. I'm not sure how much of that whole interaction with Dix and Louisa and their escape really needed to be there. If felt a bit extraneous, I think tightening that section would help the story flow better. Last, Josiah remains a mystery of who he is and his true role with the lives of these women. I think adding a bit more backstory on him would've made the connection to each woman better.
Overall, this is a brilliantly done story and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction with a splash of magic.
Thank you BookishFirst and the Forge Publishing for the chance to win this novel in exchange for my honest review.