In 1910, a missionary visitor arrives at Sophiny Mumm's convent boarding school in Concord, Kansas. Sophiny is smitten. Her best friend Antoinette Dominguez is not-and begins a series of strange behaviors breaking all the rules. From Sophiny she extracts three promises, a trunk exchange, and a staged fight before she elopes. Shortly thereafter, Sophiny learns that the missionary is not who he pretends to be and that her friend's elopement has resulted in a mysterious disappearance. Antoinette's puzzling diary gives clues about "guardians who cause us to lose our way." The missionary reappears, and Sophiny is launched on a traveler's tale of her own to search for her missing friend. In the investigation of puzzling enigmas, Sophiny has to use all the resources of emerging women's rights, family relationships, social networks, the new technologies (telephone, photography, and transportation), and patron saints.
When I first read the synopsis for this book, I thought it was going to be in my normal realm of reading. It was yet it was a little different for me. First, I'm not fluent (for lack of a better word) in the Catholic religion. I am familiar with it due to being a Christian, but they are not the same faith. Anyway...
It took me a minute (a few chapters or so) to get acquainted with the idea of how these teens spoke with eloquence and fanciful verbage. However, I sense a secondary meaning behind their vocabulary and expression. Beyond the articulation, the book started out a bit slow for me. not quite boring per say but...slow. After about the second half of the book, the story picked up in pace and I was able to finish the story without complaint. The author did have a skill for keeping me pulled in at exactly the moment though. Even the first half was a bit slow for me, just as I thought about taking a break from this book to go to another, something happened that made me want to keep reading to find out what the mystery was. This continued to happen a few times until the story did eventually pick up in pace. All in all, not my favorite read but a good one for sure. I look forward to having better luck with her next books.