The Courtship of Joanna

Catherine Gourley, Author Graywolf Press $8 (242p) ISBN 978-1-55597-113-7
So that her father can save money to buy a new piece of river property, Joanna agrees to go to a mining town to work for an arthritic old woman and her recently widowed son, Tim. Her own work isn't hard, but Joanna hates the bare, scratched-out existence of the miners and their families. Safety conditions in the mines are abominable, and disaster and death are almost daily occurences. She longs for the quiet rhythms of her old life on the family farm. As she falls in love with Tim--and he with her--Joanna begins to understand that there is no ``other'' life than mining for him, and that fear will be written into every day and accepted. Gourley paces the story by moving between Joanna's inner concerns to the hopes and dreams of the others in her life. Endurance is the theme eloquently grafted onto each page of this book, a beautifully evoked piece about the lives of immigrants in 1883-1884. Ages 12-up. (May)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
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