Carol Bodensteiner has just released her debut novel with the intriguing title GO AWAY HOME. I had the honour of reading it several months ago and totally enjoyed the characters and situation she has created.
From the very first chapter of Go Away Home, Carol Bodensteiner draws us into the central conflicts of her debut novel: old ways versus new, farm versus city, youth versus maturity, man versus woman. Raised on an Iowa farm by her tradition bound parents, Liddie Treadway hopes for a different life, one of adventure, independence, and a career in fashion. Despite two heart-breaking family events that interfere with Liddie’s dreams, in the fall of 1913 she is hired by a well-known dress maker and moves to the city.
Go Away Home is full of interesting, well-drawn characters who add complexity as well as unexpected twists and turns: Mrs. Tinker the dress maker who acts as Liddie’s city mother; Thomas Littman, the man who teaches Liddie photography; Minnie Holter, Liddie’s first city friend; Margretta, Liddie’s mother. Historical facts are offered sparingly and yet with enough detail for readers to gain a clear picture of early twentieth century American life. The story flows with excellent dialogue and compelling descriptions, and each chapter ends with a hook that drives the plot forward.
The advice Liddie receives as her life unfolds seems equally valid for today’s world: “Every choice we make becomes part of who we are. That’s why you must take care.” “The goal is not a career. The goal ought to be a good life. Experiences may be wonderful, but only if they help you to be a better person.” Will Liddie make the right choices? Will her experiences make her a better person?
Congratulations, Carol!! Go Away Home is a very engaging coming-of-age story, set at a time of incredible change and turmoil.