It appears that some readers were let down by this book in the series simply because it did not hold the same gravitas as the first book in the series. They may well have a valid point but I wanted differences in the lives of these great characters. To that end, the author has delivered. I thoroughly enjoyed the continuation of the saga. It is trues that there is nothing ethereal in this book. However, the plights of these folks continue to show just how difficult their lives, and those around them, became during the depression. I anxiously await reading the next in the series. After reading Jonathan's cross, I bought all (except for Book 5 - too $$ for a short story) so I will have them on hand when ready. So, The Drifter, here I come.