Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Town

The final novel in The Awakening Land Trilogy concludes the life story of Sayward (pronounced Saerd) Luckett Wheeler and the bustling town she helped create out of the wilderness at the close of the eighteenth century. Now a middle aged and older woman, she finishes raising her family and enjoys the fruits of her years of hard, unrelenting labor. But there is regret too as the town becomes bigger than she ever imagined it and her children make bad choices. The illegitimate daughter of her husband Portius brings addition heartache and the fate of her younger sister Sulie is finally disclosed. But as always, Sayward adapts to her surroundings and finishes off her life as an influential member of the community.
I strongly recommend reading the first two books in the trilogy before tackling this one. Otherwise the extent of that area's transformation amid the struggles to survive will have little meaning.

The Trees begins the saga of the Luckett family and fifteen-year-old Sayward, a calm, stoic, and the oldest of five children as they settle in the great forests of the Alleghenies. The trees are so thick, a person could walk for weeks and not see the sun. When her mother dies and father abandons the family, it is Sayward's job to raise her family and somehow build a life for them.

The Fields shows the beginnings of a community as Sayward and her neighbors tackle the trees to make clearings for crops. As she deals with babies, starvation, and tragedy a church is built and neighbors leave their isolation to help each other and make decisions as a group.
Most stories contained in these books are based on actual tales and personal accounts Conrad Richter heard as a boy from pioneer family and friends. The introduction tells how he feels an obligation to those resourceful people who's names never appeared in history books, but had a direct influence in building our country.

Anyone looking for good female role models or literary figures need go no further. Sayward's strength, dignity, and grace make her one of the most powerful women in American literature and enhances the honesty of this stunning work.

I am mystified why this is not required reading in school and cannot recommend this series highly enough. Retire your Little House on the Prairie and experience these instead. This is as real as it gets. Five Stars

1 comment:

Bybee said...

This is a great trilogy. Thanks so much for reviewing all 3 books, not just the Pulitzer winner.