5 stars (I loved it!).
I don’t remember who recommended this one, and I had zero expectations going in. By a chapter or two in, I had fallen in love with the voice and the character of Joan Skraggs, an somewhat naïve ox of a girl who isn’t afraid of hard work but refuses to be taken advantage of. As I continued to read, I fell more deeply in love with her bold life choices, the careful handling of religious issues (she’s Christian but ends up working for and living with a Jewish family), the portrayal of early 20th century Baltimore, and the subtlety in storytelling in general. It felt quintessentially American. I was surprised by how much I loved it, considering historical fiction isn’t usually my favorite genre. This was one of the best books I read in 2020.