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A Lantern in Her Hand by Bess Streeter…

A Lantern in Her Hand (1928)

by Bess Streeter Aldrich

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A Lantern in her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich was a book that I read and loved when much younger and I was looking forward to reading about the life of pioneer Abby Deal once again. Born in Iowa in the mid-1800’s, she and her husband Will moved to Nebraska and homesteaded there. This book paints an accurate picture of the hardships encountered and endurance required in pioneer life. As a woman, Abby was constantly sacrificing her dreams for those of her husband and children, starting out with her husband overriding her concerns about striking out on their own, leaving friends and family behind.

I could certainly see why I loved this book when I first read it as it is truly a heartwarming story of a pioneer family, but as an adult, I would have liked a little more depth and insight into the characters. Abby Deal is first and foremost a woman of strength and tenacity, meeting and overcoming all obstacles that were placed in front of her. I love the name of this book as it paints a vivid picture of how the pioneer women would step outside in the dark with a lantern to guide their menfolk home across the flat prairies.

A Lantern in Her Hand is a simple story that highlights the choices and sacrifices that pioneer women were faced with. Originally published in 1928, the author based Abby on her own mother and A Lantern in Her Hand is obviously a tribute to her. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Oct 1, 2018 |
Addie Deal is a young bride with a toddler and a new baby on the way when her husband announces that the best way for them to get out from under his parents’ thumb is to move to Nebraska. There, she and her husband Will give their five children a happy upbringing despite constant hard work and privation, especially in the early years. They experience, for instance, an actual plague of locusts. All of Abbie’s early dreams of “doing something” with her voice, playing the organ, learning to paint, or writing gradually wither and come to nothing. The compensation is watching, in later life, the success of both her children and the state of Nebraska, which she has seen grhinkw from almost nothing.

Frankly, I think this book’s time has passed. It was hard not to feel that the best years of Abbie’s life were used up in grindingly hard work and what is supposed to be her reward, the comfort of her later years, seemed inadequate—most of her children seem not to entirely understand her and vice versa. Even her dream of seeing her grandmother’s pearls worn by a daughter or granddaughter in full glory winds up falling rather flat. The marriage between Abbie and Will is a nice enough love story in its way, but he never provided for her as she deserved. On the other hand, the relationship between Abbie and her neighbor Christine Reinmuller, a stern immigrant with braids wrapped around her head, is one of the most interesting parts of the book. Thrown together by circumstances and their dependence on each other, their friendship spans nearly sixty years even though they have little in common and are hardly kindred spirits. ( )
1 vote jholcomb | Apr 3, 2014 |
I cried the whole way through this book. It's a powerful, unsentimental survey of a pioneer woman's life. I confess to being impatient with Abbie's continual self-denial, and cranky when she claimed that age 45 was "too late" to learn anything new, but that's a minor quibble. The sweep and swing of time, the space of a given life, and the pace at which is whistles by are the themes here, and they are given voice beautifully against the backdrop of the rushing changes happening in pioneer Nebraska. I'm glad I read it as a middle-aged mother, even though I sniveled my way through it. Recommended. ( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
Just re-read; one of my favorite books ever. I sobbed like a baby at the end. ( )
  amandamay83 | Apr 2, 2013 |
This is a good and entertaining read about a woman and her family, homesteading in Nebraska in the late 1800's. This is not just a straightforward diary/journal format, but it skips years at a time. Also, the main character offers some insight about life, and her own life as well. I found myself enjoying the characters, forgetting at times that I was reading a work of fiction. Recommended. ( )
1 vote fuzzi | Jul 20, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
I have a lot of favorite books but one that came to mind was written during the Depression and was a best seller then in spite of the hardships of the time. The book itself opens with the death of the main character, Abby, when she is 80 years old.

It is written in the flowery style of the 1920s and it takes a little while to get used to, but as soon as that happens the plot and the love (for and by) the characters capture the reader like a swift river.

A Lantern in Her Hand is considered to be a Young Adult book. --Penny Fruth, Oklahoma
added by kthomp25 | editCountryside & Small Stock Journal, Penny Fruth
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Because the road was steep and long,
And through a dark and lonely land,
God set upon my lips a song
And put a lantern in my hand.

- Joyce Kilmer
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Abbie MacKenzie was old Abbie Deal's maiden name.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140384286, Paperback)

After marrying Will Deal and moving to Nebraska, Abbie endures the difficulties of frontier life and raises her children to pursue the ambitions that were once her own.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:55 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

After marrying Will Deal and moving to Nebraska, Abbie endures the difficulties of frontier life and raises her children to pursue the ambitions that were once her own.

» see all 2 descriptions

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