Although the novel is very well researched, the writer misses the mark, walking the line between chick-lit and a significant historical novel with complex characters living amongst forces vying for power at the expense of the poor. There were significant gaps in the plot development, especially in the end. Where did Claudette's mother get the money to invest and turn a profit? Why was there just one monestry who would take the disabled brother and who were its progressive leaders? This author missed her opportunity to write a great book, it is merely a good book.