The Harding Sisters
by Carol E. Plimpton
Primix Publishing

"She was ashamed and panicked and killed the baby. I know she did. Grace is mean. She can’t hide the truth from me, though."

Lyman and Nora Harding have a large family. Their first child was born in 1883, and the last was born in 1902. Altogether, there were eleven girls and two boys, although one of the boys only lived three days. This story follows the family as they grow into adults and have their own lives, children, and grandchildren. As with any family, there are joys and sorrows. Also, one of the sisters has a secret that will change her life and the lives of all those around her. When one of the sisters passes away and leaves two young daughters, the other sisters must decide how the girls will be raised and who will raise them. The sisters are eventually split up, and arguments about raising them and the repercussions of these decisions will last throughout the sisters' entire lives.

Plimpton's novel spans over one hundred years. Through telling the stories of the Harding family, the reader also sees many of the ways America changed over this period, which should appeal to those interested in historical works. Plimpton's characters are diverse in personality and motivation, and her writing is concise and informative. Written in almost a journalistic style, the narrative often seems more focused on getting down the facts of these lives rather than being focused on spinning a tale. However, those who are predominantly interested in an overarching look at how a large American family changes over the course of a century will find exactly that in this family drama.

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