A pretty quick and enjoyable read. For some reason, the style reminded me of A Good Thief. Truly is a motherless child (her mother died after giving birth to her, although it was from cancer and mostly unrelated to the birth), a very large (and homely) girl to her petite and beautiful sister Serena Jane. They live in a small town in upstate NY. Their father has problems of his own, and when he dies, Serena Jane goes to live at one house, and Truly at another (the Dyersons, down-on-their-luck family, father Gus, mother Brenda, daughter Amelia). Miss Priscilla Sparrow, the teacher of the one-room school, is another trial for Truly, and it is Miss Sparrow who first labels Truly a giant at a very early age. Truly finds one friend beyond Amelia at school, Marcus Thompson, a small geeky boy. They all make through to high school, where Serena Jane is pursued by Bob Bob Morgan, the son of the doctor, the fifth in a line of Robert Morgans,destined to be Aberdeen's town doctor. Bob Bob rapes/ impregnates Serena Jane before graduation, and they marry. Truly is then left truly alone without any blood family, when Serena Jane and Bob Bob move away while he goes to school and medical school. They finally move back when his father retires, and Bob Bob becomes the next Dr. Morgan. Not long after that, Serena Jane runs off, leaving behind her son Bobbie. Truly steps in at Serena Jane's/Robert Morgan's request to help out with Bobbie. Robert Morgan is a nasty man, and Truly suffers, as does Bobbie, but they do the best they can. The first Robert Morgan was married to a local woman (he came from out of town, a Civil War deserter) Tabitha who was a herbal healer (also rumored to be from a line of witches). After marrying Robert Morgan and having his children, she gives up her practice, withdrawing into herself. Everyone has been searching for years for her "shadow book", but no one until Truly discovers the secret of it. Over time, Truly starts testing out Tabitha's herbal recipes with varying success, and some unexpected, unintended consequences. Robert Morgan and Tabitha's fates become intertwined, as they both deal with their maybe fatal conditions. The writing -- sometimes I thought it was beautiful and touching, and sometimes I found it too much and cloying. The character development was very good and the plot carried me along quickly through some of the unevenness. I had some trouble understanding some of the character's anger at each other --- that would not have been my reaction, and I didn't think some of the anger was in character for the characters. But overall, a good read and one that made me forget about the commute.