Author Sylvia Duncan bases her novel around the life and times of her great-grandmother, who was born into an ambitious, high-spirited pioneer family carving their homestead from the northern Indiana wilderness. This is the story of how Miriam faced loss, found love, and became a strong woman with "Christian faith and family" as her enduring legacy. As a deeply committed aAuthor Sylvia Duncan bases her novel around the life and times of her great-grandmother, who was born into an ambitious, high-spirited pioneer family carving their homestead from the northern Indiana wilderness. This is the story of how Miriam faced loss, found love, and became a strong woman with "Christian faith and family" as her enduring legacy. As a deeply committed and independent-minded woman, she rode her horse, Clover, in all hours of the day and night to assist with childbirth and sickness in order to fulfill her pledge to be of service to her community her whole life through. Her herbal treatments, learned at her mother's knee, brought healing and comfort to those in need. At the end of her life, she "thought of how the world had turned so many times since her birth, bringing new ideas and inventions into little Whitley County each day, it seemed. She had lived to see the telegraph and now the telephone; the horse and buggy and now the horseless carriage; the kerosene lamp and now the electric bulb; the log cabin and now the lovely mansions in town. There were flying machines that would ply the air over Whitley County before too long. What marvels these all were-- and so many more to come. ... She hoped and prayed that her grandchildren would live lives as fulfilling as hers had been, and that they would, above all, find love and raise good, strong, educated children in this land of opportunity." This uplifting book shows the power of the individual to make a great contribution to American society...our unsung heroes who labor faithfully, selflessly, and with integrity to make this country great. Author Duncan writes, "We and our ancestors do not need to be famous, or infamous, in our times to still have fascinating stories to tell of joys, sorrows, challenges, losses, and great victories." Recommended for the young adult and adult reader, Duncan gives us a unique perspective of the times after the Civil War and up until World War I in rural America. We follow Miriam from her awakening on the morning of her fifth birthday to her reflections at the end of a life well-lived. Readers are transported to her times and given a glimpse into the past that extends back to the Ancient Ones and their enigmatic birdstones that surface in the Midwest to this day. Readers sit at the knee of the patriarch of the Pence family as he tells Miriam of his family's struggles to survive in the isolated Indiana wilderness of the 1830's -- long before the Civil War took its toll on so many Whitley County men and boys in the Indiana regiments. This book is a history lesson, a lesson about Christian faith, and a lesson about how each generation finds its own way in the inevitable march of time....more
Full disclosure: I know the author, she's a regular in the Genealogy Club activities that I help to coordinate at the Bud Werner Memorial Library in Steamboat Springs, CO. I LOVED this fictionalized version of her great grandmother's life and what I learned about her family and the history of the time in Indiana. A great job, Sylvia!