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Collecting Info: In the Reader's Eye

Bess Streeter Aldrich

I highly recommend anything by Bess Streeter Aldrich. Her main characters are strong pioneer women or their posterity, and whereas they involve love and marriage, they are not "romances" in the usual sense of the word. One of my favorites is Miss Bishop: The heroine of this novel, Ella Bishop, is a healthy, sensitive, energetic, and happy person as she begins her college career in the Midwest in 1876. Her energy and devotion to learning made her an excellent student, then a gifted teacher. People were drawn toward her friendliness and enthusiasm. During her life she was betrayed in love when her young cousin stole the man she was to have married. She was called upon to raise their daughter when the cousin died. Later on in life Ella was sorely tempted to have an affair, but she resisted the temptation. She is an unselfish heroine whom one can both love and admire, and the novel is one the reader won't want to put down until it is finished. In this day of flexible morals, Ella shows us one can remain steadfast in doing what is right, and that one can forgive one who has inflicted deep emotional pain.

Another of my favorites is The Lieutenant's Lady. This novel, based on the diary of an actual army wife, gives a vivid picture of army life on the frontier while telling one of the most unusual courtship stories you can find. It begins in Omaha in the late 1860's at a party. It ends in the same house where it began -- but a world of adventure and emotion fills the time between Mother Mason will introduce you to a delightful, normal, healthy family whose members love and support each other through all the happy and stressful times of life. Molly Mason is a worthy role model, a mom who gives herself wholeheartedly to her family (after a brief time- out at the beginning of the book) and learns that happiness comes from being where God wants her. I loved this book because I could identify with this busy mother who was active in her church and in her children's extracurricular activities. I could also laugh as I got to know her children and watched their antics in the neighborhood, at college, and on the job. At the end of the book I hated to say goodbye.

The University of Nebraska Press has reprinted these books in paperback during the past few years. Barbís People Builders stocks all of those that are currently in print.

Content provided by Barbara Radisavljevic, Barb's People Builders.

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