Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Wind Blows Free (MG)

The Wind Blows Free. Loula Grace Erdman. 1952/2006. Bethlehem Books. 271 pages.

Melinda Pierce sat on the green plush seat of the railroad car, listening to the mocking song the wheels of the train were singing. All the way up from East Texas they had said the same thing--"Going away. Going away. Going away," they wailed. And sometimes they added, "Poor Melinda. Poor, poor Melinda." 

In the 1950s, Loula Grace Erdman wrote a historical trilogy set in the Texas Panhandle. Each book was narrated by a Pierce sister. The first book by the oldest, Melinda, the second book by the middle sister, Katie, the third book by the youngest, Carolyn. The novels are not necessarily dependent on one another. The age of each heroine happens to be fifteen. So in some cases, quite a few years have gone by since the previous book. But of course, if you've got access to all three books, I'd recommend reading them in order!

After their father loses his store in a fire, the Pierce family resettles in the Texas Panhandle. It will require some adapting by each family member, of course, though the twins, Bert and Dick, seem to have it best of all the children. They just can't stop from saying 'oh golly' every time they enter a scene. But for Melinda, the move is doubly hard. She can't stop thinking that she was meant to stay in East Texas and attend the same ladies academy as her best friends. And the move west seems to have doubled her responsibilities. Melinda's "new life" doesn't get off to the best of starts. For while she's busy daydreaming, her youngest sister wanders away. And it takes hours and hours to find her. But the afternoon isn't a complete loss for there is one special young man, Dennis Kennedy, who helps Melinda search for her sister.

For those interested in pioneer stories, this will prove an interesting read. It isn't quite the same time period of the Little House books (it's set a few decades later), but the pioneer-feel is the same. I liked the first book, The Wind Blows Free. It is Melinda's coming-of-age story, readers see how she comes to accept the move and even come to love her new life. But it probably isn't the best of the trilogy.

Read The Wind Blows Free
  • If you are looking for more pioneer stories with a "Little House" feel
  • If you are looking for historical fiction set in Texas, in the Texas Panhandle
  • If you can get past dated (or outdated) references to Native Americans. (The book has Melinda recounting her great-grandmother's oh-so-scary experience with Indians as a child in Georgia. Melinda does seem worried that she might accidentally see an Indian, but everyone assures her that Indians are only to be found on reservations these days, so she need not worry about that.)

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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