WINTER WHEAT by Jeanne Williams


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This is the kind of family saga one might have been more comfortable with 20 or 30 years ago, but it still has some worthwhile moments if it's possible to accept the easy assimilationist premise. The Landers, inducting sixteen-year-old Cobie and her five sisters, are part of a Mennonite colony that emigrates from Russia in 1874 to avoid military conscription. Once in Kansas, however, Conrad Lander is an enthusiastic advocate of American ways--accepting both English language teaching in the Mennonite school and the neighborly help of two ""English"" bachelors, Stede and ""Bedad,"" who live Indian style on their nearby claim. Though the Landers are kept busy by prairie fires, locust plagues, rabid animals and sundry other disasters, there's little conflict within the family circle; Cobie's one potential problem ia removed when her prettier older sister, Rebecca, rejects Stede to return to Russia with the colony's richest young man. Though the hardships of sod house living and Bedad's enthusiastic sharing of his stock of pioneer/Indian lore make for some satisfying, light domestic adventure, Williams skirts around the troubles that are sure to arise with Cobie's whole-hearted acceptance of America and of non-Mennonite suitor Stede. Despite some solid Kansas background from the author of Freedom Trail, a soft-edged view of the rural melting pot--rose colored grasses.

Pub Date: April 23rd, 1975
ISBN: 0595146414
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Putnam