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A Daughter of the Land

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  692 Ratings  ·  77 Reviews
A Daughter of the Land is set in Gene Stratton Porter's Limberlost series. Kate Bates lives in a man's world. It her dream to own and run her own farm. To fulfill her dreams she must give up everything and start anew.
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published October 1st 1997 by Indiana University Press (first published 1918)
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Apr 06, 2016 Susan rated it liked it
This is a difficult book to review, because it was just … strange, in many ways. I’d chalk that up to its being written a hundred years ago, but I didn’t get the same strange vibe with Freckles and Girl of the Limberlost, which I'd read to my daughters, or with the The Song of the Cardinal.

Kate Bates, the protagonist, is the source of much of the off-feeling this book had to me. Kate is very black-and-white in her thinking, and she certainly always thinks her way is the best. She’s very … confid
Perry Whitford
Kate Bates is the youngest of sixteen children, daughter of a rich but miserly and controlling father she defies his plans for her and leaves home at eighteen, looking to make her own way in life and find a man, a farm and a family.

Kate is a pretty unconventional heroine for an early 20th century romance. A strapping lass, the sister closest to her, Nancy Ellen, is considerably more beautiful. But Kate is smart and sure, a woman more than prepared to do a man's work, someone who in her own words
Oct 01, 2008 Sarah rated it it was ok
The "Bates Way" didn't seem terribly admirable to me and I got sick and tired of Kate thinking any halfway intelligent or sensible action was somehow directly attributed to her mean miserly father's genes. Why did Kate name her son after a father who never showed her any affection or even fairness? One of many inconsistencies.

The Bates family seemed quite dysfunctional to me as evidenced by siblings who had nothing to do with Kate when she was suffering extreme financial difficulties and the mo
Feb 12, 2009 Zoe rated it really liked it
Shelves: reading-aloud
The woman who I read aloud to has a bookshelf of all her old - and I mean OLD! - books that she saved from her childhood. I went up there this morning and pulled a few novels off the shelf, and she chose this one. SO far, the writing is decent and I'm on a history trip!

Update 3/3/09 - I am into this book! It's funny and surprising.

Update 3/30/09 - This book just gets better and better. What impressive storytelling! And so evocative of the pre-television and pre-cinema era.

4/28/09 - We finally fi
L.  (Hope is the crystal that powers the death star of our dreams)
I have a love/hate relationship with Stratton-Porter. Just when I'm starting to get into the story and liking the characters, the author makes them say or do things that completely turn my crank. I was rooting for the heroine who was fighting for the right to live her life her own way. But then she starts making some odd choices (I'm still not sure why she married the guy she married in the first place), practically turns her back on her own daughter because the daughter wanted the right to live ...more
Mar 01, 2010 Michelle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
what i learned from this book is that it's better to do the right things for the wrong reasons than the wrong things for the right reasons! this poor woman does everything wrong and lives a horrible life because she overthinks everything - and yet people constantly go to her for advice, go figure.

i grew up on my mother's copy of 'girl of the limberlost' but this wasn't the same kind of book at all - meant to be an adult novel and a morality take - not one of gene stratton-porter's best.
Apr 03, 2009 Lewestover rated it liked it
Though I am a Gene Stratton-Porter fan, this was not one of my favorites by her. Perhaps that is because the main character has more human weaknesses than other Stratton-Porter
heroines; her life of struggles is caused to a large extent by her own actions. I'm glad I read the book, but it is not one that I would probably choose to read again.
Jul 07, 2011 Nancye rated it really liked it
I always loved The Girl of the Limberlost by Stratton-Porter. But with the kindle I have discovered more of her books. This one was great. You cannot imagine how much more bad luck could follow the main character. Despite it all she never gave up. Wonderful book.
Nov 26, 2015 Suzanne rated it liked it
Not what I expect in a novel. It was slow at times but the prose is very engaging. I wanted to find out what happened to Kate even when I felt that she couldn't make this worse. Take-away: TALK to the people in your like otherwise you could waste years of misunderstanding.
Kellyn Roth
Another excellent book by Gene Stratton Porter. You can find my full review here.
~Kellyn Roth
Patience Bledsoe
Nov 29, 2016 Patience Bledsoe rated it it was amazing
A touching, moving, powerful story by Gene Stratton-Porter! This book follows Kate Bates, one of sixteen children, as she takes the wings of morning to try for independence and the life she's been denied. This book is unlike Mrs. Porter's A Girl of the Limberlost - which is a favorite of mine as well - but it's a wonderful one in a different way. The characters are quite human and flawed; at times I was inwardly begging Kate not to do such-and-such; but she had my sympathy, the story is amazing ...more
Tom Helmick
Jan 09, 2017 Tom Helmick rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful read, one we enjoyed again reading aloud to each other. I particularly liked how Porter weaves her obviously strong values into the story line.
Dec 02, 2012 Caroline rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kate Bates is the youngest of 16 children, and when she is being denied her chance to go out in the world and become a teacher, like all of her older sisters, she decides to take matters into her own hands and do it on her own. Raised in a family where each of the boys is given 200 acres of land and the money for a house and stock, and yet the girls get nothing, she feels the injustice acutely - especially since the girls worked to help earn the money to buy the boys their land.

Off on her own, s
Oct 17, 2016 Alli rated it really liked it
If you have not read GSP before, skip this for now and read Girl of the Limberlost or Keeper of the Bees first, but come back to it. You have to know her and her love of transformation and redemption to appreciate this one, I believe. Kate Bates makes some ridiculous and seemingly out of character decisions in her life that could drive many people to enough frustration to abandon her as a heroine, but if you know and trust GSP, you know that there are reasons for these decisions that won't justi ...more
Sep 05, 2011 Laurie rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, nook
When I first read this, as a teenager and huge fan of several other Porter titles ("Freckles", "Girl of the Limberlost", "Harvester"), I was shocked and turned off by what I felt was the darker tone of the writing and the generally gloomy events. Even a second read, in my 20s, left me with the same impression.

Since I have an anthology of Porter's novels on my Nook, I decided to re-read "A Daughter of the Land" while on vacation, and was quite surprised to find that it was humorous, and that as
Judith Trowbridge schlicker
The plot is good but the tell overtakes the showing and the showing in the dialogue is rough. The dialogue in the first few chapters falls apart because she can't master how much the country bumpkins speech patterns measure up to the people who are more worldly. This is done quite well in the Hoosier School master.

She also pounds in into our heads about the Bates way instead of letting the reader figure it out. There is incongruity in the dialogues between George and the protagonist . They both
Jennifer Dallman
Apr 21, 2014 Jennifer Dallman rated it liked it
It wasn't terrible, but I probably wouldn't read it again. I felt more like I wanted to smack Kate rather than side with her most of the time. Unlike some other reviewers, I feel Kate's impetuousness makes her marriage to George quite believable, although the handling of how it happened was just odd. People do stupid things for the wrong reason all the time, and we don't usually see this handled in novels - so in that way, it was novel, lol. Kate goes on to make more and more mistakes, usually t ...more
Bushra Zia
Jun 18, 2016 Bushra Zia rated it liked it
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OceanPearl Books - Book Review
A rich land owner, Bates, deprives his daughters of their share and hands out two hundred acres land to each of his sons without giving them the title. Kate Bates worked all her life to hand out land to her bro
May 17, 2012 Alicia rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-fiction
Kate Bates is a very strong character--almost like a legend with her great height, physical strength and ability to persevere despite making some hasty decisions. Stratton-Porter weaves a large and encompassing story fit for Kate. The writing felt uneven in some ways: character Agatha Bates is very distinctive while Aunt Ollie is described very little, despite both characters being of similar importance. The author wrote expansive dialogue but would then skip years in one expository paragraph. A ...more
Nayana Renukumar
Jul 15, 2012 Nayana Renukumar rated it liked it
An easy reading with enough twists and turns to hold one's interest. Just as you become complacent and think 'I know where it is going', the author springs a nasty little surprise on you and keep the story going at a steady pace. Kate, the central character, is headstrong and diligent albeit a bit impulsive and altogether very likable and inspiring. The book takes us through her troubles under a dominating father, her daring act of breaking free, her brilliant though short lived professional lif ...more
Jan 24, 2010 Suzanne rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book, maybe even more than the other 2 I've read by this author. I have noticed how much she feels that the "classes" should not mix. Kind of an old fashioned idea that I'm glad we've grown out of in America. But, other than that, most of her beliefs are solid.

I liked this quote on p. 155, "We are all more interested in ourselves than in any one else in this world, until love comes; then we soon learn to love a man more than life, and when a child comes we learn another lov
Apr 18, 2015 Deanna rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 18, 2012 Mitzi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vintage-novels
Not my favorite GSP book - I enjoyed the beginning, and was glad at the end, but everything in between was pretty hard work... I think she was trying for a story about a family full of "imperfect" people, which is fine - but a lot of the characters seem to make decisions that don't really make sense, except for the goal of GSP wanting to make them "imperfect". They just don't come across as genuine, believable choices I guess is what I'm saying... Glad I read this one, but probably won't be read ...more
Jul 07, 2014 Min rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 25, 2013 Jen rated it it was amazing
Kate is the main character in this story and lately I have started finding myself wondering what Kate would do. This read can be hard because it feels like she keeps getting smacked down regardless of all her hard work. However, she observes that it seems like those who have to work hard are those that turn out the best.
She is tenacious, hard working, diligent, and strong. When life starts getting laborious, I find myself encouraged knowing that Kate would keep at it. She would push forward u
Alicia Williams
Jul 29, 2011 Alicia Williams rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011
I really enjoyed reading about Kate's life -- hard as that life was! It reminded me of Willa Cather's "My Ántonia". Kate disobeys her father and leaves home as a sixteen year old to attend a summer of "normal" following which she will have her teaching license. Life's a roller coaster for Kate from then on! I especially enjoyed the scenes much later in Kate's life where she and her formerly-estranged mother come to terms and develop a strong, loving relationship. Another really wonderful book a ...more
Jan 24, 2012 Adrienne rated it liked it
This story was very enjoyable and I read it quicker than any of Stratton-Porter's other books because it had some good suspense and interesting characters and a terrific ending. I give it a three star because there are a few spots in the story where the author just seemed to trail off and was not sure what to write. She had a few minor gaps and it seems like her mind was dry or something. I wonder if she had a publisher's deadline? I think she could have fixed these small errors if she had more ...more
Apr 16, 2008 Crissy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Of the Gene Stratton-Porter books I have read, this isn't going to make my list of favorites. The intractable nature of the father, and the foolish choices of the daughter didn't appeal to me. The themes of hard work and love of the land that went mostly un-rewarded left me feeling unsatisfied at a time when i was looking for a feel-good type of story. I instead found an all too real "sometimes no matter how hard you work life still beats the crap out of you" story. But because it is a stratton ...more
Jun 02, 2008 Michelle rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels
Well, this one was different than I expected--a little out of the way of the "typical" Stratton Porter. But I really liked it. I loved Kate! She's almost as headstrong as I can be, lol, and I loved watching her progress through all her mistakes and difficulties and come out the other end, an amazing woman, with no bitterness. I had a hard time tracking down a copy of this, but am glad I did.
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She was an American author, amateur naturalist, wildlife photographer, and one of the earliest women to form a movie studio and production company. She wrote some of the best selling novels and well-received columns in magazines of the day.

Born Geneva Grace Stratton in Wabash County, Indiana, she married Charles D. Porter in 1886, and they had one daughter, Jeannette.

She became a wildlife photogra
More about Gene Stratton-Porter...

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“We are all more interested in ourselves than in any one else in this world, until love comes; then we soon learn to a love man more than life, and when a child comes we learn another love, so clear, so high, so purifying, that we become of no moment at all, and live only for those we love." "You” 2 likes
“She is the best-dressed woman in the county, and the best looking," said Mrs. Bates, "and that's all there is to her.” 2 likes
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