Double Wedding Ring

Patricia Wendorf, Author Viking Penguin $19.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-241-12742-1
The author of the Patteran trilogy bases her stirring, satisfying tale of English immigrant farmers in America on her own family documents, fashioning here the diary of Rhoda Greypaull Salter. In 1851, Rhoda and her cousin Susanna fall in love with young butcher George Salter when he comes to Somerset to kill the family pig. Two years later, George marries Susanna, taking her across the ocean to upstate New York. By 1857 stalwart Rhoda is summoned to care for dead Susanna's infant son and marry George. When his butcher's trade eventually fails, George moves Rhoda and their children to Chicago to join the meat-packing trade, but he dies after the 1871 Chicago Fire. Now free to pursue her wish to be a dairy farmer, Rhoda buys land and a herd in remote Wisconsin. Surprisingly, romance engulfs her in middle age in a charming episode involving a quilt pattern (to which the novel's title refers), and she marries a Civil War hero. Rhoda's personality--her sharp wits and her pluckiness, her willing toil at tasks from patchwork to plowing--emerges strongly, and a deep sense of pioneer daily life closely tied to the natural world enriches her story. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/1990
Release date: 09/01/1990
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