Leaving home for the first time, 22-year old Lucile Ball accepts a teaching position in Michigan’s rugged Upper Peninsula, awaiting her fiancé’s return from the Great War. Initially thrilled by her newfound independence, her world unravels when letters sent to her beloved Howard begin coming back unopened—the word WOUNDED stamped across his name—just as the deadly influenza epidemic, that’s rounding the globe, strikes. Unlike any virus ever seen, the so-called “Spanish Lady” brings healthy adults to the brink of death in mere hours. When others are too afraid to step forward, Lucile volunteers to care for its victims. Helpless and alone, she watches as the stack of letters grows higher, afraid that she and her dreams for the future may never survive.
Based on a true story, A Far Different Path transports and inspires readers as it explores one woman’s brave journey through a life that veers off course in unexpected ways. This detailed and shocking account of the influenza epidemic, which killed over 50 million people worldwide, will linger long after Lucile’s own story ends.
Of course I’m biased, but I’m sure you regular people will like it also. I wanted the stories and details to continue, but this novel is just the right length. I grew up hearing parts of these stories of Michigan farm life, the small Albion college, and Howard’s WW1 experience as a medic and the flu epidemic of 1918, so it is great to have it all put together by Lucile. I knew Lucile as Grandma Bridgie, but I knew she was an independent woman who valued education and personal freedom. Thanks Mike Stone!
As a native Michigander, I could relate to this biography of Lucile and Howard's life. I too attended Albion College (undergraduate), and have all kinds of connections to the U.P., where my mother was from. The descriptions of life in southern Michigan and in Munising are vivid and realistic. I liked how the story was advanced through Howard's letters. This book has an uncanny parallel to today's pandemic, from wearing masks, to business and school closings, to people who are not compliant, to the government trying to handle it, which today has tragically been a failure from the beginning. I read the whole book thinking it was fiction! The epilogue cleared up a lot of questions. I was disappointed to learn that Lucile stayed in tame Ohio, I though she would return to Munising where life is more adventuresome, especially when the book ended with her making pasties (a family favorite). All in all, a good read.
I sincerely enjoyed the story of Lucille and Howard, and I loved the inclusion of Howard’s letters. Knowing the book was published in 2018 before any of us knew what was coming (Covid-19) seems almost eerie. The similarities between what the people in Munising dealt with during the pandemic and what we have faced during the past 16 months are revealing. This book is a loving tribute to the writer’s grandmother, a strong and independent woman who took her life into her own hands in 1918 rather than following others’ expectations. It is an impressive and well-told story, and I was moved to tears in the last pages.
If not for the repeated grammatical mistakes (in the narration, not the letters or dialog), this book would receive a rare 5 stars from me. As a language teacher and fellow LU alum, it’s hard for me to overlook the consistent misuse of me/I and lay/lie. However, it is a truly moving story and one that I would recommend to almost anyone.
I loved so many things about this book. First, that I found it while in Munising on an Anniversary trip with my husband and last, the quote at the end of the book, "In retrospect, I realize that I have traveled a far different path living my own busy, frustrating, adventuresome, often satisfying and pleasurable life that has come with more than my share of loss and sorrow, but also with tremendous love. And it is the love that has always seen me through." There are lots of other reasons I loved it, including the fact that it is based on a true story about the author's grandmother.
A timely historical memoir based on a true story. The setting--Michigan during WWI and the Spanish flu pandemic--is of particular interest to those of us living in Michigan during the COVID19 pandemic. Recommended for adults.
I really enjoyed this book for several reasons. It is set in my home state of Michigan, the towns of Albion and Munising. One focus is the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, especially interesting now as we are in our own pandemic. Interesting characters.
From beginning to end, this is an incredible story! The characters are enthralling and the love story is captivating. If you love historical novels like I do, then you will also be swept away as you turn page after page in earnest anticipation. This book fills a much needed gap due to the paucity of books/stories of those who suffered through the Spanish Influenza. I can't recommend this book enough.