By Elizabeth Harris
Reviewed by Angie Mangino
Rating: 5 stars
Evelyn Kunkle was born in 1909, married Lester Gant, Jr. in
1927, and lived in Central Texas.
Immediately the author introduces readers to her.
“A young woman climbing out of an old Essex in a cloche hat
and a flowered maroon rummage sale dress in front of the Prince Carl County
courthouse, that’s what some observers will remember – and everything they knew
about her at the time.”
Readers, however, will be privy to the different lives
destiny required of her. First she lives
the life of a prominent landowner’s daughter. Next, she lives as a respected married woman. Finally, she is an outcast, becoming a paid
laborer in other people’s homes, surviving by holding within herself the
summation of all three lives.
The writing style and dialogue seeped in the time and
location transports readers to her historical time, giving an understanding of
radically different societal norms than now, allowing for better understanding
of her plight.
Readers bond with Evelyn as her story absorbs them. Like this reviewer, they may cry out in
defense of her, wanting to save her from the rigid, patriarchal environment. It is this very personal desire to defend her
that illustrates the author’s skill in making the fictional characters so very
real. Evelyn’s story will stay with
readers after they finish this well-crafted historical novel.