If anyone was not convinced that Christina Baker Kline could write after reading The Orphan Train, her latest book, A Piece of the World will remove all doubt. Kline paints pictures with her words; beautiful and sensory filled pictures. “After I leave for school, time stretches ahead like a long, flat road visible for miles. My routine becomes as regular as the tide.” Passage after passage is descriptive and soulful.
The reader will meet Christina Olson and her somber family. Christina is forced to leave school early to take care of her growing family since her mother is sick and her father rules through silence. Christina meets a young man and dreams of a life far away from Maine. But life does not turn out as planned and Christina becomes a lonely spinster with her brother Al. They work hard to maintain the family farm. The book flips back and forth from past to present and Christina reveals her friendship with Andrew Wyeth, the acclaimed painter. Wyeth paints Christina, which becomes one of his most famous paintings. Wyeth sees beauty where Christina experiences pain with a debilitating disease and loneliness.
Although the story is fictional, Kline completed a great deal of research and uses this research as the backdrop for this mesmerizing tale. She carefully imagines the missing details and creates a powerful story of sorrow, disappointment and family love. Although Christina’s life does not meet her initial dreams, she finds solace in the unexpected friendship and beauty from Wyeth. It will be easy to fall deep and hard for this romanticized version of the famous painter and his surroundings.