Popov’s elegiacal account of the lives of a number of inspirational artists and scientists  acts as a paean to creativity and individuality and, most importantly, the truth. The crux of the book deals with three women-Maria Mitchell, Harriet Hosmer and Margaret Fuller -whose lives intersect not only with one another, but also with the majority of the people who appear in the book, from Emerson to Walt Whitman, from Emily Dickinson to Elizabeth Browning, these unconventional and brilliant women act as the bright stars which illuminate 19th century America.

Popova’s profound musings on the painful and lonely nature of genius, on the unbearable lightness of the beauty which the people depicted are able to discover in their respective fields, on the impermanence of life against ceaseless march of time and most importantly on the fearlessness demonstrated by the characters in their pursuit of truth and beauty and how each of them was able to change the world, elevates the book to not just being a paean to creativity, but to life itself.