I got this as a free e-book from the University of Chicago Press - thank you! This is a weird, wacky book; historical fiction—with an emphasis on fiction— where true-to-life luminaries touch the peripheries of the lives of our main characters. As far as I can tell, there is only a tiny bit of truth regarding Gordon McKay here, and it comes only at the end of the story in a wrap-up. But honestly, who cares? This is a tale of westward migration with Geraldine Brooks' attention to detail and eye for quirky facts, along with the unnerving sexuality of an old VC Andrews story (If I say that a Sister and Brother - twins - figure into the plot, you'll know which one I mean.) I learned about bee-keeping, kiln making, and a bunch of other things I never would have googled until now; McMahon packed a lot into this slim volume, which is totally worth the time if you are up for an adventure.