The characters are diverse and deeply portrayed: white, black, Creole, and Native American; young and old; rich and destitute; slaves, soldiers, and storytellers. But they are tied together by a young girl's desire to know the truth about her self: a story that is bigger than any one of them.
Sauerwein's use of imagery feels like poetry. In one passage Rainy, the young protagonist, is considering Will, the man who took her in as an infant. She thinks,
…as he talks on about the comet, she hears the dark river more clearly than ever behind Will's soft, slow voice. She longs to ask him for something that he cannot define. If he answered her, if he answered her truly, she thinks it would feel like seeing the comet. Or a shining star. Tell me a true thing, she longs today. Tell me a true thing about me. tell me what you are hiding.
Will talks on and on, soothing her. She feels his kindness flowing around her, but something else at the same time, something that leaves her frightened. Like a little animal who fears the plunging owl. Like what Will had showed her once in winter, the light traces in the snow of a predator's wingtips and the tracks of a leaping mouse. p. 83
Carol: What was your inspiration for this story? Did your life experiences influence its' creation?