Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Home In Drayton Valley by Kim Vogel Sawyer

A Home in Drayton Valley is a sweet pioneer story and I read it at the time my students were studying pioneer travel. What impressed me most was the historical detail in the story. I used much of her thoroughly researched information during class discussions. The central plot revolves around Tarsie Raines. A young woman from Ireland and stuck in poverty in New York City, Tarsie dreams of a better life for herself and her best friend, Mary and Mary's family. The dream is fraught of conflicts including Mary's debilitating disease, Mary's alcoholic gambler of a husband and two young children (whom the husband doesn't want). Tarsie convinces Mary to travel to Drayton Valley. When Mary approaches her husband, he scoffs at the idea until he needs to go out of necessity three days later (don't want to spoil the plot). Tarsie pays for the tickets and most of the supplies and they begin their journey first by train and then by wagon. The travelers have all of the conflicts of a pioneering group and then some. Tarsie, who is a devout Christian, does her best to help lift up the family, ease Mary's sickness and care the children. As one situation leads to another, a promise is made and the plot takes an interesting turn. A Home in Drayton Valley is written beautifully and an ease to read. It is a story filled with hardship and happiness with a few surprises along the way. (Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for allowing me to request a free copy, I truly enjoyed it.)

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