In All Good Faith

Written by Liza Nash Taylor
Review by Trish MacEnulty

Taylor’s latest novel is filled with sweet surprises. Set during the Great Depression, the storyline alternates between May Craig, the heroine of Taylor’s first book, now a married woman with two children in rural Virginia, and Dorrit Sykes, a teenager in Boston. Two deaths set these characters on journeys that will ultimately converge when the woman and the girl form an unlikely friendship and decide to take control of their destinies. Ultimately, they help each other find faith in themselves.

When May’s father-in-law commits suicide over his financial affairs, May uses her ingenuity to keep the family afloat by opening a candy business, but her generally loving husband balks at the idea of her working outside the home and discourages her efforts, threatening their marriage. Dorrit’s mother, a believer in Christian Science, dies due to an ectopic pregnancy. Dorrit, afflicted with paralyzing anxiety, is torn between the restrictive beliefs espoused by her mother’s religion and the adventurous life she reads about in Nancy Drew books. When her father takes her to Washington for a protest march, Dorrit is thrust into a dangerous world and soon must fend for herself.

Historically, the novel delves into a shameful aspect of American history: the treatment of World War I veterans during the Depression. “In Washington, veterans arrived full of enthusiasm and veterans departed, discouraged and fatigued.” The media, the police, and the government heap abuse upon these men and their families, and yet, many ordinary people—like May and Dorrit—come to each other’s aid and manage to survive and even thrive despite the hardships. This emotionally engaging novel is a timely reminder of Americans’ resilience in the face of adversity.