too many narratives

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At first, this book seems like a fairly standard braided mutiple time period narrative, with a little magical realism thrown in. Then it takes a turn for the ... interesting, and I can see where comparison's to Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad come from, although Whitehead's imagination far outpaces Woods's.

Our braided narratives are about Gaelle (current time), Margot (1857), Abigail (starting in 1791), and Winter (starting in 1852). Margot's, Winter's, and Abigail's stories all come together in Remembrance, a very special town of freed blacks in Ohio. Their stories weave together to form a full picture of their lives and their need for Remembrance to protect them, and for them to protect Remembrance.

It is Gaelle's portion of the story that feels superfluous. In the end, I understood why Woods chose to incorporate a current day perspective, but her interpositions into the historical narrative felt intrusive, and the payoff wasn't equal to the promise.

Setting the current day portion of the story aside, though, this is a solid historical novel. Margot, Abigail, Winter, and their compatriots are all believable, well-written characters.