I was a bit slow reading this book. I thought that the book was a bit silly. Too many coincidences keeping the characters entwined and too many overly dramatic experiences. But I did like the fact that the author used an excellent imagination to give the reader a feeling for so many things that are a part of our history. Starting with the coal mining in the 1700s and the terrible conditions of the coal miners in the British Isles, he moves on to many, many other parts of everyday history: London in the 1700s and the TERRIBLE plight of the poor as they struggled to make ends meet. The people who were hung for small crimes and only if lucky enough to have someone of importance to plead for them were they lucky enough to be transported instead. The terribleness of the ships that transported the prisoners. The brutal fact of life if one was a black slave or a white person sold into slavery in Virginia.
I also enjoyed the explanation of a young couple moving towards the Cumberland Gap from Fredericksburg, Virginia in the era before the Revolutionary War. And also the description of the Fredericksburg area in the time period. Jay Jamison was probably not far from being what the real plantation owners were ......younger sons....and not necessarily good business men. He lacked an interest in running his plantation himself and was very contented to leave the management to an overseer who was not necessarily a good and honest leader with lack of real understanding of the farming practices that led to a good plantation. It was an interesting read.