By: Ashley E. Sweeney
\A beautiful window into the life of a single woman in the late 1800’s, Eliza Waite tells the tale of a single woman, toils to make her life in the Islands off of Washington’s coast after the death of her child and husband. Sweeney spins a tale of self reliance, stark beauty and the determination to live a fulfilled life, all while demonstrating the serenity and power of landscape that is the American West. As the reader, you feel as though you are right there with Eliza as she moves about her small cabin, planning her meals and mapping out her days. You feel as though you are her, when she injures herself and encounters a man who seeks her hand for the first time in years.
Its no wonder critics have lauded Ashley Sweeney’s novel for its beauty and accuracy. It’s a small window into a life and a time the history books seem to glance over. Sweeney’s novel captures the more intimate aspects of life in a sparse and unforgiving landscape. Though reading this novel is easy, as Sweeney’s words ebb and flow naturally, she takes care not to soften the edges or sugar coat the story of Eliza Waite. And for that, we thank her.