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Song of Years

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Format: Hardcover

Condition: Acceptable*

*Best Available: (missing dust jacket)

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Book Overview

The state of Iowa was still young and wild when Wayne Lockwood came to it from New England in 1851. He claimed a quarter-section about a hundred miles west of Dubuque and quickly came to appreciate... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

excellent story, well written

A very interesting history of the mid west settlement, entertaining to the point that it is hard to put down , and you can't wait to get back to reading it .

pioneer Iowa

Although not one of her famous novels, for which she was Nebraska Laureate, Song of Years is a fine, sentimental story of pioneer life on the new-broken prairie in the Cedar River Valley of eastern Iowa (Black Hawk County, Waterloo?). If you have ancestors there, this could be their story, their aspirations and tribulations, their joys and sorrows--mostly the girlish joys and laughter. While the Martins' youngest daughter, Suzanne, is at the heart of the family story, her upbeat, political father and sweetly cynical mother are ever-present, along with her sisters and brothers. They and their loves are well-differentiated characters with mostly attractive personalities. Although some names are altered, this is a light historical novel of the years 1854-1865, during which the Martin teenagers grow and marry through times of hard optimism and national tragedy. We see their efforts continually changing against the repetitive patterns of their farm life, told in easy-flowing prose. There would be no suspenseful story to tell--who will Suzanne marry?--if Aldrich did not employ the romance novel technique of poor communication between Suzanne, Wayne, and other candidates. One is in a secret dreamland, another determinedly obliviouse--neither speaking their desires despite everyone around them having no restraint in speaking their own wishes. Aldrich rightfully uses many terms of mid-century women's clothing and foods, but one could wish for illustrations or recipes. Perhaps the reader will be stimulated to look at old family photos anew, sing Stephen Foster songs, or seek out an historical museum or antique copies of Godeys magazine. The story is not quite a tear-jerker, like Uncle Tom's Cabin of that day, but I still became enthralled and hopeful for the characters. You would enjoy reading this romantic story (500 pp) to your young daughters, and your sons might pay attention in parts as well. On the other hand, your daughters might come to think they should learn to cook and sew and manage for husbands, or sons that they should work hard to bring home the bacon before marriage. Also, the N-word had not yet been wholly banned when this book was written in 1938, or of course in the period in which it is set.

Loved it and moved there

Read this in high school. Loved it. My mom loved it. Then found it later as an adult and realized I now lived by "Suzanne". It was awesome.

A book for many generations

In my family, this is a favorite of three generations-my grandma, in her 80s, my mother, in her 50s, and me, in my 20s. We all find the characters to be believeable, and they stay with us long after we have finished the story. This book appeals to readers on many different levels. First of all, there is the historical aspect of the struggle of life on the prairie when Iowa was just becoming state. Added to that is the impact of the Civil War. Second, there is the story of a young girl, unsure of herself, growing to womanhood and finding out who she really is as she faces events that are out of her control. We witness Suzanne's first infatuation, her crushing disappointment when she realizes her feelings are not returned, and, eventually, a true love that will outlast anything, even war. The reader realizes that though the times may change, the emotions of growing up do stay the same. Lastly, this book is a wonderful break from the stories of today that feel they must contain some sex, violence and profanity. At times, we just need a good, old-fashoined story where that stuff doesn't get in the way. I can't begin to describe the well-worn condition of my grandma's original book. It just shows that it has been a close, personal friend to three women who love it dearly.

a novel to rediscover over the years

I read this book while I was in high school. I loved it so much that I wrote a term paper on it. That was 10 years ago. I recently picked it up again and rediscovered every description of the prairie, every breathless detail. It still remains my favorite book of all time. I was so endeared to it again that I am searching for all titles written by Bess Streeter Aldrich. It is amazing how she writes such timeless words that touch your heart and senses.
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