I did enjoy the book. Angela Hallstrom is a very descriptive writer and I enjoyed her use of words to create images and characters, but the format of the book felt very disconnected to me. Each chapter is a glimpse at the Palmer family at one point in time (the book covers decades). The chapters are often from the perspective of different members of the family and the chapters are not directly connected to each other. You do come to care for the characters in the book. They feel real, with real strengths and real weaknesses. Indeed I think the main focus of the book is that these people are real, they live in our world, and they are struggling for their family, something most of us can relate to.
***Read the comment by Laura, she says it so much better than I do.