1919: A Kansas Tale
A family endures and flourishes in Hourihan's poignant, if all too brief, fictional portrait of Flat Rock Kansas, circa 1919. When teenager Nan Heath is out with boyfriend Ned Cane, her entire family (mother Bess, father and Mormon preacher Tom, and little sister Katie) dies in a house fire. Maiden aunt Ella Quinn refuses to take Nan in, but pays for the funerals and eventually establishes a closer bond with her orphaned niece. Ella also pays for Nan's wedding dress when she marries faithful Ned. The young couple embark on a life together, replete with challenges and rewards, and eventually Ella surprises them with the revelation of a family secret and a bequest. Hourihan tells Nan's story with insightful period observations and flashbacks about Nan's grandparents and Ned's parents. Like a sepia-toned photograph of a long-lost family member, Hourihan's sweet testament to family is a treasure.