Gene Stratton-Porter was not only a prolific author, but a prolific author of bestselling novels.
A Daughter of the Land is better than any of her others.
A Daughter of the Land by Gene Stratton-Porter
1918 bestseller #9. Project Gutenberg ebook #3722. My grade: B+.
The novel is about Kate Bates, youngest of 16 children of one of the richest, stingiest, and most egotistical farmers in the county.
Kate’s seven brothers each got a house, stock, and 200 acres when they turned 21.
The nine Bates girls each got “a bolt of muslin and a fairly decent dress when she married.”
Kate bitterly resents the disparity.
When her father refuses to let her take a summer course that would qualify her to teach, Kate borrows money from her sister-in-law and goes out on her own.
The novel follows Kate from Normal School training into teaching, courtship, marriage, motherhood, widowhood, and, eventually to love as she pursues her goals of “a man, a farm, and a family.”
Aside from one slip when she has Mr. Bates seeming to applaud Kate’s rebellion, Stratton-Porter tale of an heroic and flawed woman’s fight to run her own life—and a 200-acre farm—feels entirely true.
Kate makes plenty of mistakes along the way, but she accepts their consequences an moves on.
In my book, that’s heroic.
© 2016 Linda Gorton Aragoni