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A Lantern in Her Hand (Puffin Classics) Paperback – April 1, 1997


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A Lantern in Her Hand (Puffin Classics) + A White Bird Flying (Bison Book S) + Spring Came On Forever (Bison Book S)
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 6 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1020L (What's this?)
  • Series: Puffin Classics
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin; Reprint edition (April 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140384286
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140384284
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 4.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,268 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Piercingly beautiful. . . . Aldrich’s pioneer woman was based on her mother, and the integrity of her depiction of life in a sod house in the late nineteeth-century Nebraska speaks to her readers. . . . In her own introduction Aldrich writes of wanting to tell her mother’s story after her mother’s death: ‘Other writers had depicted the Midwest’s early days, but so often they had pictured their women as gaunt, browbeaten creatures, despairing women whom life seemed to defeat. That was not my mother. Not with her courage, her humor, her nature that would cause her to say at the end of her life: ‘We had the best time in the world.’”—Allyson F. McGill, Belles Lettres
(Belles Lettres 20081124)

“The language is good and sturdy and dotted with imaginative metaphors and similes (‘Silence, so deep, that it roared in its vast vacuum’). If the book tries to crowd too much life into 300 pages, well, there was a lot of life: ‘We old pioneers,’ Abbie says at the end, ‘we dreamed dreams into the country.’”—Roger Miller, Milwaukee Journal
(Milwaukee Journal 20081124) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

This Bison Books edition includes Bess Streeter Aldrich's own story of how she came to write A Lantern in Her Hand. Among the other Aldrich books reprinted by the University of Nebraska Press is A White Bird Flying (first published in 1931), the sequel to A Lantern in Her Hand.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

All the while, the story is presented in Aldrich's poignant and masterful style.
D. Mikels
I'd love to talk to someone else who's read this book and see if it affected them like it did me.
Mary Connealy
Abbie and Will were barely getting by, but their children were as happy as kings.
Averil

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Averil on August 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
When Abbie Mckenzie was young she dreamed of becoming a lovely lady like her grandmother. She wanted to paint beautiful pictures and become a world famous singer. She even gets a chance to fulfill those dreams when the dashing young doctor hears her singing, falls in love, and offers to take her East and away from Iowa with him. But people's ideals change sometimes. Abbie finds love with poor but steady Will Deal. She gives up everything to move to Nebraska with him. Many obsticals awaited them there but together they made it. Abbie and Will were barely getting by, but their children were as happy as kings. Maybe that's because their lovely mother braught them up "with a song upon her lips and a lantern in her hand". As Abbie Deal grows old, she realizes that none of her old dreams will ever come true for her but they will through her children. And as an old woman, she can look back on her life with a smile. This book is beautiful and touching and will bring tears to your eyes. I recomend this book because I absolutely loved it every time I read it.
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45 of 45 people found the following review helpful By minniecatt on August 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
Like some other reviewers, I read this when I was quite young, and the story of Abbie Deal, who crossed the prairie to settle in Nebraska with her beloved husband Will, left a deep and abiding impression in my heart. Many times I have thought of Abbie Deal's story of strength and survival. She reminds me of my grandmother, who faced her own challenges in the early 1900's in the east Texas piney woods. Abbie, with her long slender fingers, shapely figure, her singing and painting talents, was born in the mid 1800's. Falling in love with Will Deal, she left her small town to travel with him to the uncivilized prairie to raise her family while facing weather disasters, insects, isolation, lack of cultural 'food' and the ever-present threat of disease and death. Could I have lived in a sod shanty or had babies with only a gruff German-speaking neighbor as midwife? Could I have kept my sanity while sweeping locusts out the door in great piles? While perhaps not the most elegant or multi-layered author, Bess Streeter Aldrich earns my respect by her straight-forward style, and by creating many of the most lively, memorable characters ever. One of the most poignant themes is how Abbie over time loses her shapley figure, her slender fingers becoming knarled by hard work, her singing and painting disused and forgotten. Yet how those attributes are 're-incarnated' in the following generations is one of the scenes that bring tears to my eyes every time I read it. If a book can be valued by the number of times that it is recalled in the reader's mind as a source of humor, comfort or warm nostalgia, then this book is among my most cherished few. Get this book, read it, love it. Become part of the community of those of us who have taken this work to our hearts.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By MAB on July 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
"A Lantern in Her Hand" is such a deep story, that I could only handle reading it in small portions. Each and every time, I would close the book with such sadness in my heart. Abbie worked so hard as a mother and a wife, and sacrificed her dreams and wantings, that it made me think of what my parents might have set aside for me. Her children, when grown, bothered me so much, to think their mother old-fashioned and somewhat senile. If only we can have such fond and cherished memories when we live to be in our 80s. I recommend.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By brooke on October 7, 2003
Format: Paperback
This was one of the most heartwarming, touching, most precious stories I've ever read. What I loved most about it(apart from the lovely and poetical way of writing), was how Aldrich wrote the story of Abby's whole life, and not just the romance era like most authors do. I never would have considered that old people are never really old, it's just that they have outgrown what the rest of us are still waiting to grow into; that they once had lives with romance and accomplishments and thing of their own, had I not read this book. Well, anyways, the story goes like this:
Abby Mackenzie is eight years old when she moves to a little community with her family, and meets Will Deal. Well, all her young life, Abby has been told the story of her aristocratic father married her peasant mother, putting the rest of the family into peasantry. Her dream is to be like her aristocratic grandmother, Isabel Anders-Mackenzie, who has a portrait which Abby has only seen in her imagination.
Well, when Abby grows older, she is courted by the dashing young doctor, Ed Mathews, who proposes while her friend Will is off at war. She thinks that if she marries him, she will have the chance to pursue all the dreams of being a fine lady, especially enriching her lovely singing voice. But, then Will comes home, and Abby marries him, realizing that he was the one she really loved. So, the newly weds pioneer-on-over to Nebraska Territory, where they raise a family.
The rest of the story tells of their life on the prairie, and how Abby is able to live her dreams through her children instead of herself. The book goes on until she dies in her eighties. I loved it with all of my heart, and absolutely COULD NOT have imagined a sweeter ending than the one Aldrich gave. Read this book!
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