Review: In All Good Faith by Liza Nash Taylor

☆☆➹⁀☆ 3.5-4 stars ➹⁀☆☆

About the Book:

In the summer of 1932, Americans are coming to realize that the financial crash of 1929 was only the beginning of hard times. May Marshall has returned from Paris to settle at her family home in rural Keswick, Virginia. She struggles to keep her family farm and market afloat through the economic downturn. May finds herself juggling her marriage with a tempting opportunity to revamp the family business to adapt to changing times.

In a cold-water West End Boston tenement the fractured Sykes family scrapes by on an itinerant mechanic’s wages and home sewing. Having recently lost her mother, sixteen-year-old Dorrit Sykes questions the religious doctrine she was raised in. Dorrit is reclusive, held back by the anxiety attacks that have plagued her since childhood. Attempting to understand what limits her, she seeks inspiration in Nancy Drew mysteries and finds solace at the Boston Public Library, writing fairy stories for children. The library holds answers to both Dorrit’s exploration of faith and her quest to understand and manage her anxiety.

When Dorrit accompanies her father to Washington, DC, in the summer of 1932 to camp out and march with twenty thousand veterans intending to petition President Hoover for early payment of war bonuses, she begins an odyssey that will both traumatize and strengthen her. Along the way she redefines her faith, learning both self-sufficiency and how to accept help.

Dorrit and May’s lives intersect, and their fates will intertwine in ways that neither could have imagined or expected. Set against a backdrop of true historical events, In All Good Faith tells a story of two women’s unlikely success during the Great Depression. 



My Thoughts:

I read Liza Nash Taylor’s book Etiquette for Runaways and loved it, and I did not catch that In All Good Faith is a sequel to that book until reading a review. I can honestly say that In All Good Faith is a standalone novel. I was completely wrapped up in May Marshall’s life in Etiquette for Runaways, but In All Good Faith didn’t capture my attention in the same way.

The excesses that May enjoys in Etiquette for Runaways abruptly evaporate with the stock market crash and resultant depression. It is a time of desperation and unrest. Told in dual POV by Dorrit and May, readers feel the fortitude these women had and the resilience needed to survive during the Great Depression. May continues to be a character who is wise and ingenious beyond believable expectations given her upbringing and education. May’s fortitude continues to be inspiring. If only we all had her perseverance! Dorrit gives the author a conduit to preset an interesting and perhaps little known history regarding the veterans of WWI. Again, Ms. Taylor’s research is highly evident in her storytelling.

I enjoyed the setting and time period as well as the story arc. Ms. Taylor’s research and writing are deserving of praise. In general, I enjoy her storytelling, but I just didn’t feel the same connection to the characters that I did in her prior book. That said, overall, In All Good Faith is an excellent character-driven Depression Era historical fiction with strong female characters.

About the Author: The farmhouse where Liza Nash Taylor lives in Keswick, Virginia, with her family and dogs was built in 1825, and it is a setting for both of her historical novels. She writes in the old bunkhouse, with the occasional black snake and a view of the Southwest Mountains.

In 2018, Liza completed the MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Art and was named a Hawthornden International Fellow. She was the 2016 winner of the San Miguel Writers Conference Fiction Prize. Her short stories have appeared in Microchondria II, (an anthology by the Harvard Bookstore), Gargoyle Magazine, and others.

© Copyright 2021 Book Junkie Reviews. All rights reserved.

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