Having the story told by two voices makes this novel much stronger. Lavinia is 7 when she comes to the plantation as a white indentured servant with, at first, no memory of her parents' death on the trip from Ireland. Belle is a young mulatto slave, daughter of the plantation's owner, given charge over the child, to care for her and teach her to be a house servant. Lavinia comes to love the people she lives among, calling them "my family." The feeling is mutual. Mostly, the characters are very well rounded--I'd say the major exception is the overseer. On the other hand, much of what we know historically of how overseers treated slaves is exactly like this man treated the people he had power over. For me, the ending, the last few paragraphs, was a bit abrupt. I'd read the sequel first, which may be the reason for this reaction on my part. Otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed the fast paced book, and look forward to what I suspect will be a third in the series.