I wanted to write another Pennsylvania story to continue the family story/romance begun in Hand-me-Down Bride, especially because setting plays such a large part in all my imaginings. After thirty + years, exploring the backroads and byways, first on my bicycle and later on the back of my husband's motorcycle, I'm found much to interest me in this uniquely American landscape.
The period, too, the pious and still shell-shocked 1870's, as Americans struggled to recover from the Civil War, still resonates in this landscape. Every hilltop church surrounded by sinking gravestones whispers ever so many tales. There are markers for soldiers from the Revolutionary War to the Civil War and onward, into the 21st century. There are men who married several wives, often followed by a sad trail of tiny gravestones. These are all those babies who didn't make it out of infancy back in those "good old days," and who sometimes appear to have caused the death of their mothers, all of them interred in a neat row. The oldest gravestones are in German, speaking to the nationality of the first European settlers.
Elfrieda, Sophie's little sister, started to reveal herself, along with her three suitors, each handsome, manly, and each "catches" in their own way. There's a rich young man, born to privilege, a laboring man whose pride and joy is a fast trotting horse, and a crippled veteran, now a Lutheran preacher. Elfie, initially a careless butterfly, navigates through the rough water of her grown-up desires with the help of luck, love, forgiveness, and after a few painful life lessons. There is also a little help from scripture.
Yes, this book is suitable for teen readers. Adults who don't want a lot of heavy breathing with their romantic, old-time country stories may appreciate the fact that character and good choices are important here, as is a little touch of redemption.
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