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A Lantern in Her Hand (Puffin Classics) Paperback – April 1, 1997
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“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.’”—Belles Lettres
“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.’”—Milwaukee Journal
From the Back Cover
When A Lantern in Her Hand came out in 1928, critics took little notice, but people everywhere soon discovered it. By the end of 1919, even as the Great Depression set in, Bess Streeter Aldrich's novel was in its twenty-first printing. Now translated into over twenty languages, A Lantern in Her Hand has outlasted literary fashions to touch generations of readers. It is the classic story of a pioneer woman. Bess Streeter Aldrich knew what she was writing about. Her protagonist, a strong-minded pioneer woman named Abbie Deal, was modeled on her own mother, who in 1854 had traveled by covered wagon to the Midwest. In A Lantern in Her Hand, Abbie accompanies her family to the soon-to-be state of Nebraska. There, in 1865, she marries and settles into a sod house of her own. The novel describes Abbie's years of child-raising, of making a frontier home able to withstand every adversity. A disciplined writer knowledgeable about true stories of pioneer days in Nebraska, Bess Streeter Aldrich conveys the strength of everyday things, the surprise of familiar faces, and the look of the unspoiled landscape during different seasons. Refusing to be broken by hard experience, Abbie sets a joyful example for her family - and for her readers. This Bison Book edition includes Bess Streeter Aldrich's own story of how she came to write A Lantern in Her Hand. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
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!