You fall in love with the people, or at least some of them. You care for them as true friends, and for that reason alone I have given this book 5 stars. The book portrays life in a dying village in Massachusetts in the 1800s. Life is hard. The characters roll with the punches. Some are sour and some aren't, just as in true life. And then life goes on. A very good author. I must read more by Diamant. i also recommend her book The Red Tent.