LEAFY RIVERS by Jessamyn West


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Jessamyn West's feeling for people gives this book its appeal. The date that frames it is July 16, 1818, the day that Leafy Rivers is to have her first child in her mother's home. Leafy's struggle to give birth gives rise to recollection, of her courting by schoolmaster Reno Rivers, their journey from Blue Glass west to homestead, finding Simon Yanders (or being found by him), who gave into their keeping the home he had left when he lost his wife. Leafy, so named by her brother Chancellor because she could not make up her mind, is a high-spirited, vital nineteen; her husband a highminded but unhandy fellow. Leafy finds herself drawn to the competent Simon; then, on an epic journey to Cincinnati to bring the hogs to market because Reno is ill and the homestead is at stake, she is taken in by woman-wise Cashie Wade, who puts his questionable upbringing to use whenever he notions. It is Cashie's child she bears after a time which tests the family and the doctor who had lost his own wife bringing his son into the world. By the end of Leafy's delivery there have been many recognitions and resolutions. In a period setting with a narrative that takes a surprise turning, Miss West deals in the universals of life and love (family, married, unmarried) and Americana with a practiced hand. Her story has a homespun attraction, a warmth that readers of The Friendly Persuasion will look for and recognize.

Pub Date: Sept. 27th, 1967
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World