The writing in this book is exceptional, true and with a tinge of humor that makes the hardships in the story more bearable. Evidence: "I knew then why they didn't marry. Emily and Jane and Louisa. I knew and it scared me. I also knew what being lonely was and I didn't want to be lonely my whole life. I didn't want to give up my words. I didn't want to choose one over the other. Mark Twain didn't have to. Charles Dickens didn't. And John Milton didn't either though he might have made life easier for untold generations of schoolkids if he had." A truly feminist heroine - in that she thinks being a girl (especially in 1906) means a lot of unfair burdens are placed on you, and she'd rather society just got over its expectations of her so she can live her life as she'd like - in a unique setting, telling a moving story. I often get my books through bookswapping sites (BookMooch/PaperBackSwap, etc), and my wishlists on these sites are cultivated from about a thousand different places - reviews, my feedreader, libraries, browsing, etc. - so that by the time a book comes to me through the mail, I have little memory of why I've ordered it in the first place, or what anybody said about it. So this book was a welcome surprise to me, because I had some vague assumptions that it was some sort of dystopic YA fiction - which, in a way, I guess it was, but only in the sense that reality for young women at the turn of the century, especially if they were the eldest sister in a farming family where the mother has died, was particularly dystopic, but definitely a variation from the Sci-Fi/Fantasy Armageddon tome I was expecting. But I loved it. Definitely adding it to my keeper shelf.