Plain has written an epic novel that spans almost a century. It explores the humble beginnings of Adam Arnring, son of a New Jersey shopkeeper. Determined to make a name for himself, young Adam heads west, ending up in the small town of Chattahoochee, Texas, where he finds a job in a clothing store.

Adam's characterization is the primary focus of the novel and gives this read star quality. Underneath Adam's work ethic and duty to family—he sends money for his brother Jonathan's college education—his human foibles are evident. Adam struggles with his attraction to his boss's niece Emma.

Time reveals some of Adam's secrets, threatening to destroy his family life. Enthralling and filled with the realities of life's ups and downs, Plain's latest creatively chronicles the 20th century, as one man leaves his family a legacy not soon forgotten. (Jan., 323 pp., $25.95)

Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick