After 16-year-old Willow falls and hits her head, she begins to channel Cleopatra Lamb, a woman born during the mid 1800s. Cleo insists Willow relay her story, and although reluctant to do so, Willow spends her summer writing the story of Cleo, whose father drifted from place to place after her mother’s death to ensure that Cleo’s grandparents would not claim her. Cleo idolized her father and the happiest time of her life was when he began work on the Stuart farm when she was 9 years old. There, Cleo was accepted as part of the Stuart family and attended school and had a normal life until her father left to go to work in Mississippi but was killed in an accident shortly thereafter. Cleo remained with the Stewarts and had a hard time dealing with her father’s death but eventually overcame her grief and we follow her journey as she becomes a midwife and marries and has her own child. But Cleo’s life is not an easy one and is filled with pain and hardship.
This is an interesting look into the life of a woman who is strong and independent, especially for her time. The concept of channeling is a fascinating one and brings a fresh perspective to the literary world.