Publisher's Weekly Review
"In Wood’s ambitious 1920s saga, a disinherited English aristocrat and a stifled American heiress marry and settle in largely rustic Palm Springs, Calif., which is just beginning to develop. Seeking his fortune, Nigel Barnstable, Baron Stullwood, begins aggressively building an agricultural business by planting date palm trees. His wife, Elizabeth, who relishes the newfound freedom from her loving but domineering parents, embraces the West and their neighbors, the Native American Cahuilla tribe. As Nigel becomes increasingly controlling and violent, he terrorizes Elizabeth and provokes the Cahuilla by infringing on their land and water..... Woods’s meticulous research provides a moving portrayal of the Cahuilla and their struggle to adapt to the technological and cultural progress that is increasingly affecting their way of life. But most compelling is Elizabeth’s awareness that she has gone from controlling parents to a controlling husband, followed by her evolution from a victim to a courageous defender of the environment. After she frees herself, she seeks out a romantic relationship based on true partnership. At its essence, Wood’s narrative is about respect, resilience, and rebirth. (July)"
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