This book is so complex.I loved it and didn't at the same time, because the characters were just so REAL. I could like them, despise them, get angry at them, be happy for them, sad and even worried about them. I came to adore so many of them.... Marta, however, is still my favourite. I love Trip and Niclas, Boots and Jones. Even Cloe has a bit of my love. Bernie is seriously a pretty awesome brother and husband to Hildemara and Elizabeth. I don't know if I like Elizabeth, but I did when she was just a child, befriending little Hildemara. Hildemara. I can't decide whether to love her or not. Sometimes I do, and sometimes I want to just sigh in frustration. I wish she knew how much her Mama really loves her. How Marta tried so hard to make Hildemara strong. How she pushed her to stand up to people. How Hildie had always been her favourite --perhaps subconsciously-- and Hildie never knew. It made my heart break for the both of them. I loved this book for so many reasons I don't have proper explainations for. I know part of it is that I love history, and this takes place in the past, surrounded by a lot of it. I know I love strong female leads, which made me love Marta right from the start. (But that doesn't mean I never got frustrated with how she talked to Niclas or did things behind his back.) I like books where things aren't always bright and shiny, with rainbows and flowers all around. I like books that are REAL. Where people are born, and people die. And people get sick. Where people get teased and loved. Hurt and healed. A book with only good things is no good at all to read; it settles you into wanting an ideal that is never, ever going to come true in your life. Nothing and nobody in this life on Earth is perfect. Only the Lord above and His Son Jesus have kept us from drowning in our sin and never having a chance at Heaven. Let me just say how glad I am that I get this chance. A great book: five stars for sure.