The story revolves around five families - American, Welsh, British, German, Russian - and it brings readers into their everyday lives, from the stuffy drawing rooms of British aristocracy to the savage battlefields of Europe. In addition, women's suffrage is part of the story as it also was a major movement of the early part of the twentieth century.
While the scope of this story seems impossibly broad, it brings to life universal issues such as world war, the Russian Revolution, votes for men and women, and shocking descriptions of battles like the one at the Somme where thousands of British soldiers were slaughtered.
I'm excited that the story will not end at the end of this book. Two more books will follow the descendants of these five families through the Great Depression, World War II, and the Cold War. However, we'll have to wait until 2012 and 2014 for these stories. In the meantime, I highly recommend this smart and sophisticated story.