The first in an epic two-book saga, this sweeping story explores the complicated relationships between mothers and daughters as each woman is forced to confront her faulty but well-meaning desire to help her daughter find her God-given place in the world. "Ambitious, strong-willed Marta Schneider leaves her home in rural Switzerland at the beginning of the 20th century. She's determined to flee her abusive father, loving but weak mother, and the constraints placed on women. Meeting interesting characters all along her journey, she works her way to Canada. There she buys a boardinghouse and meets her match in Niclas Waltert, a German engineer with a farmer's heart. Through Marta's sharp elbows and the sweat of Niclas's brow, the family eventually arrives at an increasingly comfortable life in California's Central Valley. The second half of the story is told from the point of view of constitutionally timid daughter Hildemara Rose."--Publishers Weekly.