The most positive thing you can say about The Wake of Forgiveness is that the author has a very descriptive writing style that transports you into the time and place. Unfortunately, the author hasn't mastered the creation of suspense. The story skips back and forth between time periods. This ruins the most suspenseful scenes and keeps the reader wondering where he is in the story. This is a good bad example of the problems with extensive flashbacks.
The book is primarily a character study. I believe it was competently done, but the characters were so cruel and their motivations so selfish that I had a hard time getting interested in their problems. Perhaps the author was trying to say that the harsh land forms harsh characters.
One reason I cannot recommend this story is the amount of animal cruelty. I found the scenes where animals were being hurt repugnant. This might not bother some people, but animal lovers need to be warned about the graphic nature of the scenes where horses are abused.
I read the book as part of the Barnes and Noble First Look Program. I was very glad to have an opportunity to read the book and particularly to discuss it with other readers. It's not a book I would have chosen to read, but I learned something.