Macedonia, WV is a small town running on history and a shakey hold on the present. Layla Beck is a priveleged young woman, sent to Macedonia throught the Works Progress artists' writing project, exiled by her Senator father in order to grow up and get in touch with real life.
Miss Beck is assigned to live with the Romeyn family, once the leaders of Macedonia, but now languishing on the outer edges of society. Felix is the shady son of the former president of the local mill. He has two daughter's, Willa, 11, and Bird, about 8 years old, cared for by his sister, Jollie, a 30-something spinster. There are also twin sisters, Mae and Minerva, who live in the family home.
Layla interviews town's people in order to write the Sesquesentenial History of Macedonia, she begins to understand there are deeply hidden secrets that few people want uncovered, an agreed upon understanding of the past that doesn't line up with the facts, and a mystery surrounding the fire at the mill that killed Felix's best friend and Jollie's love, and caused the downfall of their father from being the president of the mill.
Willa is determined to "assist" Layla in order to learn more of the roles of her father and aunt in Macedonia, to understand why her father comes and goes secretly, why Jollie has never married, and, to keep Layla from falling in love with her father and stealing even more of his time away from her.
The story is complicated with many twists and turns that kept me engaged throughout the book. The device of interspeecing letters with narative did not always work and slowed the forward movement too often, especially in the first have of the book. But it was definitely worth persevering through those spots to glean the richness of the characters.
I give this a 4 star rating, and highly recomend it for those who like historic fiction, family sagas, and explorations of "history" and "perception".