This novel starts out with a funeral and the untimely death of the narrator’s sister. Georgie Burkhardt doesn’t believe that her sister is dead, though, and she’s determined to find out the truth—with or without help. Unluckily, help comes in the form of Billy McCabe, her sister’s former beau. Set in 1871 in the town of Placid, Wisconsin during a great pigeon nesting that drives through Georgie’s town, sending the town into chaos. Just like those wild pigeons are a force as they descend on Placid and the surrounding area, Georgie pushes along this story so that you’re there with her, determined to find her sister Agatha.
Georgie reveals the past to us, the reason for Agatha’s departure, her relationships, and her personality through a series of flashbacks that help us understand, even before Georgie does, how her sister most likely died. Even so, when Georgie finally does come around, I was suddenly on the other side. No, she might still be there. Georgie lost hope, but I kept it for her. I thought it beautiful how Amy Timberlake made this happen. It’s almost as if Georgie’s convincing has worked, but not for herself.
Georgie’s quest to find the truth allows her to learn much about her sister, feeling again close to her, as well as angry at her for putting them all in this situation. Moreover, she’s able to learn about herself, questioning what she has always known as the truth, and learning actual truths that she never wanted to know.
I found myself pulled into this story from the get go. Georgie is an easy character to follow. She doesn’t demand that you burrow in and accept what she’s saying. She’s likable, even though she does some unlikeable things. My only real issue with this book is that I had a hard time really believing that Georgie belonged in this time period. I can’t pinpoint what caused this feeling, but Georgie seemed like a more modern girl and belonged in more modern times. It wasn’t due to her abilities, which were not skills that would have been encouraged in a young girl in the late 1800s, but in her voice. Something about the way she spoke was too modern. It may have even been too sheltered for a girl living in this growing town, learning to shoot, and traipsing through the woods. I almost felt like she should have been more mature than she was due to this time period. Needless to say, it took me out of the space every now and then.
This is a great read and I recommend it for readers who enjoy an adventure. Georgie definitely has her fair share of adventure in this quest for the truth. If you really like historical fiction, this may or may not be for you, depending on if you can believe that she really belongs in this time period.