Having reached the NaNo word count for today, I sat on our swing seat under a giant macracarpa tree and devoured the rest of this book. The sixth in the series, it is also the last and I have to confess to shedding a tear or two as I read the final pages. Not only was it farewell to a gripping, heart warming series, it was a farewell to some of the best characters I've ever read.
The opening prologue caught my heart strings. Curiosity, freed slave and great friend of the family central to the story, calls the reader to sit with her awhile on her porch. She fills in a few events from the last 10 years, then gently prods us to read on and find out more. This was beautifully written and very moving.
At first I struggled a little with all the 'little people' who had sprung up, but before long I'd fallen for them, slotted them into the correct families and the story took off. Daniel Bonner, son of Elizabeth and Nathaniel, still struggles with a shoulder injury from the 1812 war. Then Martha, Nathaniel's ward and daughter to Jemima, returns to Paradise and puts a smile back on his face.
Sara Donati wrapped the series up very cleverly with extracts from the village newspaper, highlighting both the tragic and exciting events of the Bonner family from 1828 to 1844. The final exert being the announcement of Elizabeth's death. For me it posed as many questions as it answered. Yet that is the nature of a family saga. The main characters have children, then grand-children and on it goes. Each generation have their own stories.
With a sense of loss, I return this book to nestle alongside its companion volumes. I wonder how long it will be before I pick up the first volume and begin the journey again.