As Lucy and Sam travel, Lucy takes charge. Sam is the hunter but Lucy is the one with a plan. They ward off men on the trail and those who would try to map out their lives for them. After they bury Ba, they travel to a town. Lucy longs for other people, education and a structured life and she moves into town and finds work. Sam is less settled; her life working alongside Ba in the mines and the gold fields has left her with a quest for adventure and she takes off after a while by herself.
The two girls try to interpret the family stories they know bits and pieces of. As they unravel the past, they learn about the family secrets and how they impacted their family life. The two eventually reunite and decide to move back to China and find themselves there in their parents' first home.
This novel was nominated for the Booker Prize. It is a fascinating view of an underreported minority in the immigrant stories of the American West. The hardships the girls meet and conquer are daunting and will make one wonder if our children today could be as hardy. The love the two girls share and their quest to understand their family and to carve out a life for themselves is inspiring. This book is recommended for readers of literary fiction.