Friday, June 6, 2014

Beginning ~ with an indomitable woman

The Homesman ~ by Glendon Swarthout, 1988 (Afterword, 2014, by the author's son Miles Swarthout), fiction (Nebraska)
"In late summer Line told him she was two months along.  Another mouth to feed.  And besides, she said, forty-three was too old.  She said it would be a melon-head or all crippled up or have a hare-lip because God must be angry with them because look what had already happened this year."
I moved to St. Louis this week, and a woman I met two days ago has already let me borrow this book so I can discuss it with her book club in about three weeks.  The first lines make me want to continue reading, and so does this summary of the story:
In pioneer Nebraska, a woman leads where no man will go.  This devastating story of 1850s pioneers in the American West celebrates the ones we rarely hear about — the brave women whose hearts and minds were broken by a life of bitter hardship.  A "homesman" must be found to escort a handful of them back East to a sanitarium.  When none of the county’s men steps up, the job falls to Mary Bee Cuddy — ex-teacher, spinster, indomitable, and resourceful.  Brave as she is, Mary Bee knows she cannot succeed alone.  The only companion she can find is the low-life claim jumper George Briggs.  Thus begins a trek east, against the tide of colonization, against hardship, Indian attacks, ice storms, and loneliness.
I like reading about indomitable women.  Okay, Mary Bee Cuddy, let's see how you deal with frontier life.

Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays.  Click here for today's Mister Linky.


Sandra Nachlinger said...

This sounds like the kind of book I adore. The cover grabbed me right away, and the synopsis made me jump over to Amazon. Thank you for introducing me to this book.
Here's the link to my Friday post: WALLS FOR THE WIND. It takes place in the 1860s.

Emily said...

Well look at you, already invited to a book discussion group, and for a book you want to read. I see this as a great confirmation.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Sandra, I hope you enjoy the book. I'm glad I read it.

Emily, I finished the book in a couple of days and have already passed it on to Donna. Maybe she'll be able to attend the book club meeting, if she doesn't have to work that day.

Helen's Book Blog said...

That is so wonderful that you have already found a book group; what a great way to enter a community! And the book sounds good: strong women and historical fiction!