There is great attention given to the characters, especially their desires. Donoghue studied 18th-century literature at Cambridge and here shares the details of events like the laws of body-snatching and the typical drink of a Yukon gold miner without sounding like a researcher. Period slang and attitudes of characters ranging from a 1630s Puritan snitch to a 1960s retired Ontario sculptress are handled with deftness.
In "The Lost Seed"; a woman gives her daughter up for adoption, then writes the Children's Aid Society demanding her return, in "The Gift"; the Tammany Hall bigwig is found to be a woman; in "Onward," a Victorian Londoner is forced into prostitution...the stories reveal the moral ambiguities of survival while others remind us of how precarious travel and communication were in the past. Though linked collections have become something of a trend, here, each story is strong and they can be read independent of one another.
Jacki @ Central