cover image The Winter Loon

The Winter Loon

Lori Henriksen. Cougar Creek, $15.95 trade paper (350p) ISBN 978-0-9977406-0-8

Henriksen’s luminous debut, inspired by the life of her mother, follows a young woman as she comes of age during the Great Depression and WWII. A gifted horsewoman, 18-year-old Ruth Thompson leaves Lake Minnetonka, Minn., and her beau, Duke, in 1931 to earn college tuition money working as a “gypsy cowgirl” in the rodeo. For Ruth, rodeo life is filled with freedom and adventure—and it’s also where she meets Rollie, a woman who begins Ruth’s sexual awakening. Eight months later, she returns home and leaves for college, where she goes through the motions, living in a sorority house with rigid rules and attending social events with Duke, but soon realizes she doesn’t fit in. When she meets another student, Gisela—French-educated, exotic, and beautiful—Ruth is smitten and they fall in love. Facing the inevitable breakup with Duke, a suspicious housemother, and fear of stigma and rejection by her family, Ruth falls into a severe depression. But the narrative ultimately takes a powerful, life-affirming turn. Henriksen’s gorgeous settings and multilayered plot enrich the story. This is an inspiring, feel-good tale. [em](Self-published.) [/em]