In Go Away Home, Carol Bodensteiner's work of historical fiction, the author spins an interesting and entertaining tale loosely based on the life of her grandparents. Set against the backdrop of World War I, the story provides a glimpse into the life of a young woman, Liddie Treadway, on the cusp of adulthood and eager for something more than the simple farm life she has grown up with.
Liddie wrestles with career and relationship choices as she takes her first tentative steps into the world away from her family farm. As a reader I found myself cheering her on and wishing I could sit down with her and have a conversation about the circumstances, and the people, she found herself dealing with—and perhaps offer a snippet of advice as well.
Current events of the time, like the emerging suffragette movement and the outbreak of the Spanish Flu, influence the storyline, and threads about the fashion of the day and the beginnings of photography as an art weave their way through the tale, making it all the richer.
Though we sometimes look back upon bygone days with a nostalgia and consider them to be simpler times, as this story progressed I found myself asking if that was really the case. In many ways Liddie's story is the story of women today—a century later—who find themselves weighing a desire for a fulfilling work of their own with, sometimes conflicting, family responsibilities.
I enjoyed this book immensely. With its well-developed characters, compelling storyline, and a sense of place so rich I felt that I was in early twentieth-century Iowa along with Liddie and her family, this was a book I lost myself in. I look forward to more from this author.
Carol Bodensteiner is a writer inspired by the people, places and culture of the Midwest. She lives with her husband on an acreage near Des Moines where a prairie, a vegetable garden, and hostas too numerous to count occupy her time when she's not writing. Visit her website.
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