Adelaide Henry has a secret--a dark family secret she keeps locked in a large steamer trunk. If it gets out, people will die. Like her parents. Which is why she had to leave California. She heads to Big Sandy, Montana not only because it is far away and no one knows her there, but because in 1915, Montana is one of the only places that will give land to a single woman to homestead. Even to a black woman like Adelaide.
I don't know why, but I thought this book was going to be a darker, supernatural horror story. It's not. There is a supernatural element in it, but it's more about Adelaide and other lone women like her trying to make a life for themselves in the American West than anything else. And I was underwhelmed by what emerged from the locked steamer trunk. But maybe that's because Lavalle wasn't going for eerie and atmospheric with his writing; his prose is strong, but more straightforward. He does an excellent job of capturing the time period and depicting the setting and the lives of Adelaide and the other women. And the story is interesting. I was just hoping for suspenseful and chilling. So I didn't end up loving this one, but I would still recommend it.