West Against the Wind

Liza Ketchum Murrow, Author, Liza Ketchum, Author Holiday House $13.95 (232p) ISBN 978-0-8234-0668-5
The pioneer story, when told as beautifully as it is here, never grows old. In 1850, Abigail Parker sets out with her family from Missouri to meet her father in gold-rush countryCalifornia. Gold fever, ""the worst disease of all,'' her young aunt says, has men and women in its grip. But women, far outnumbered, disadvantaged by the hardships of the trip and often the objects of derision and abuse, stand apart and must also learn to stand together. It's a dynamic context in which to come of age, as Abigail does, falling in love with an admiring, secretive hired hand, Matthew Reed. Nineteenth century sexuality, readers see, is laced with shame and restrictions: perhaps in California, Abigail hopes, she can break free and ``be herself, for the very first time.'' This is a wise, entrancing story with unusually well-defined characters, a strong point of view and a rich web of conflicts. An exceptionally fine debut. Ages 10-up. (October)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1988
Release date: 04/01/1988
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