First, this is NOT what I would classify as "historical fiction." It is merely a story set in the past, and that fact, coupled with having one of the characters read headlines from a 1918 newspaper just isn't enough to qualify for this category. Second, the author reportedly holds a doctorate in English. One would expect her to understand, for instance, that the words hay (fodder)and straw (bedding) are not interchangeable ("Buster came to a stop in front of a bale of hay. As the horse munched on the straw..."); or to realize that "nuzzle" is not a noun in the English language, and it is definitely not part of a horse's anatomy (i.e., "He [Buster] lifted his nuzzle in greeting." or "He dropped the reins as Buster lowered his nuzzle to the water."). And you'd expect the author would be able to avoid sentences such as "Only a handful of passengers scattered across the platform..." (Why? did someone toss a hand grenade?)
You'd think that the author would know the difference between "clinched" and "clenched" (i.e., "She clinched her fists in frustration..."); or between wiggled and wriggled (i.e., "She wiggled away from his grasp...").
You'd think, as a Georgian, she'd find a better way to express the thought that Savannah is a coastal city ("Bea Dot found the water soothing, so different from Savannah's Atlantic Ocean..."). Savannah is located on the Savannah River, twenty miles upriver from the ocean, but this sentence makes it seem geographically more like Myrtle Beach.
For someone who claims to have labored three years over this manuscript, you'd expect her to have found such mistakes as using "despite me" instead of "to spite me." Also, on page 85, she mentions "stink bugs." Unless there was another species of insect also known as the stink bug back in 1918 (and there might have been, who knows), what we call stink bugs today are native to Korea and didn't show up in the US until 1998.
Worst of all for me was that I didn't like any of the characters! The two main women characters came across as spoiled, petty, mood-shifting whiners, while the male lead was basically a cad, in my opinion, for his seduction of a married (and very vulnerable) woman still in her teens.
As to the plot, nothing actually "matters" in this novel. It is simply a narrative in story form of what happens to several people over the course of a few months in 1918 during the Spanish Flu pandemic in Georgia. Everyone ends up in a different place and in a different condition from where they started, but I didn't really get the feeling that there'd been any character growth for any of them, merely good luck, bad luck, or wish fulfillment, as with the very predictable romantic happy ending for the young lovers. But by the time I got to the end, my only remaining feeling was "So What?"
Finally, what this book lacked most of all, besides compelling characters and a strong plot, was a knowledgeable editor who might have caught some of the more glaring mistakes and at least made the book readable. All the misused words and muddled facts (and I've included only a partial list above) have the effect of knocking the reader out of the story, and then wondering if it's worth it to get back into it.