This prescient novel features a multi-generational family live together in a heritage house that's falling apart – much like their economic stability. At the same time, it tells the story of the house’s previous occupants, a family living in a 19th century utopian community called Vineland, who struggle to reconcile interest in Darwinian evolution with the religious beliefs of their neighbours. This is literature that isn’t afraid to be divisive and delves unabashedly into contemporary politics in a way that’s reminiscent of the crusading Victorian novelists such as Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy. Some readers may find this social consciousness a mite preachy, while others may find it refreshing and a case of literature speaking truth to power. In other words, this novel is perfect for book clubs that enjoy a spirited debate! Personally, I couldn’t put it down and I’m still rolling the novel’s ideas through my mind.
Meghan Casey (Staff) (Queen's Square Library)