This is most definitely not a romance, and I found I didn't miss it at all. The mystery to this story is compelling, and well developed. Although the book was slow building, I found myself drawn into the world of the characters, and was fascinated by their relationships, and interactions. The characters themselves are well developed, and richly nuanced. I like how well set in the time period this book feels, and how it doesn't fall victim to a rosy or romanticized view of the past, and avoids becoming some sort of melodrama, or morality tale. Watching Ira grow and change throughout the story was a pleasure, and even though this book wasn't an easy read I ended up truly enjoying it.