In Sunlight, in a Beautiful Garden is the story of a bittersweet romance set against the backdrop of the Johnstown, Pennsylvania, flood a tragedy that cost some 2,200 lives when the South Fork Dam burst on Memorial Day weekend, 1889. The dam was the site of a gentlemen's club that attracted some of the wealthiest industrialists of the day Henry Clay Frick, Andrew Mellon, and Andrew Carnegie and served as a summertime idyll for the families of the rich. In Sunlight, in a Beautiful Garden imagines the lives that were lived, lost, and irreparably changed by a tragedy that could have been averted.
Cambor's exquisite prose is the spoonful of sugar that makes this lesson in history bittersweet. She writes of their lives before the flood, filling in history's gaps with emotions and personalities, only reaching the catastrophe and its aftermath in the last chapters.