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Ann Arbor Observer - August 17, 2011
"It is the measure of Ellen Baker's success that she makes [the]
journey from the shadowed past real and deeply moving."
Minneapolis Star Tribune - July 30, 2011
"a richly satisfying sophomore effort steeped in heartbreak and
history... both sweeping in scope and sure to set readers'
imaginations to flight... Baker's natural ear for the parlance of
the era, site-specific and wholly believable, is but one element
that makes her second novel such a cozy delight. Between Grace and
Lena -- and all the characters in between -- this talented author
has created familiar-seeming people whom readers will care about."
Booklist - July 1, 2011
"Pressed into Rosie the Riveter service at a northern Wisconsin
shipyard during WWII, Violet, her daughter, Lena, and Lena’s best
friend, Grace, sacrifice their health and well-being for their men
serving overseas. Grace pines for her boyfriend, Alex, while Lena
worries about her brother, Derrick, and Violet, burdened by a
disabled husband unwilling to go to work or war, struggles to hold
on to the family farm. Orchestrating a matchmaking scheme with
ulterior motives, Lena urges Grace to write to Derrick, a plot that
is jeopardized when Derrick is listed as missing-in-action. When
Grace suddenly marries recently discharged war vet Joe and gives
birth to a child, Lena’s plans to secure her homestead take on new
urgency. Fifty years later, a young woman finds herself caretaking
the same property for her aunt, only to discover she is part of a
convoluted and sinister family history. Masterfully portraying the
harsh realities of women’s newly acquired role in the wartime
workplace, Baker’s family saga brims with gothic undertones."
Publishers Weekly – June 20, 2011
“Baker (Keeping the House) mixes past and present, love and loss,
forgiveness and renewal in this sensitive cross-generational story
of the lingering effects of WWII… …Reminiscent of both A.S. Byatt's
Possession and "Rosie the Riveter," Baker is at her best
describing a bone-deep cold Lake Superior and the lives of the women
who labored over ships as a rare but powerful part of history.”