Song of Years

Song of Years The state of Iowa was still young and wild when Wayne Lockwood came to it from New England in He claimed a quarter section about a hundred miles west of Dubuque and quickly came to appreciate wid

The state of Iowa was still young and wild when Wayne Lockwood came to it from New England in 1851 He claimed a quarter section about a hundred miles west of Dubuque and quickly came to appreciate widely scattered neighbors like Jeremiah Martin, whose seven daughters would have chased the gloom from any bachelor s heart Sabina, Emily, Celia, Melinda, Phoebe Lou, Jeanie,The state of Iowa was still young and wild when Wayne Lockwood came to it from New England in 1851 He claimed a quarter section about a hundred miles west of Dubuque and quickly came to appreciate widely scattered neighbors like Jeremiah Martin, whose seven daughters would have chased the gloom from any bachelor s heart Sabina, Emily, Celia, Melinda, Phoebe Lou, Jeanie, and Suzanne are timeless in their appeal too spirited to be preoccupied with sermons, sickness, and sudden death However, the feasts, weddings, and holiday celebrations in Song of Years are shadowed by all the rigors and perils of frontier living Bess Streeter Aldrich s novel, originally published in 1939, captures the period in Iowa of Indian scares and county seat wars, as well as the political climate preceding the Civil War.

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Song of Years

  1. Bess Streeter Aldrich was one of Nebraska s most widely read and enjoyed authors Her writing career spanned forty some years, during which she published over 100 short stories and articles, nine novels, one novella, two books of short stories, and one omnibus In her work, she emphasized family values and recorded accurately Midwest pioneering history.One of her books, Miss Bishop, was made into the movie, Cheers for Miss Bishop, and her short story, The Silent Stars Go By became the television show, The Gift of Love.Bess graduated in 1901 from Iowa State Normal School, now known as the University of Northern Iowa, and taught for four years She returned to Cedar Falls and worked as Assistant Supervisor at her alma mater, receiving an advanced degree in 1906 She married Charles Sweetzer Aldrich the following year.In 1909 the Aldriches and Bess s sister and brother in law, Clara and John Cobb, bought the American Exchange Bank in Elmwood, Nebraska, and moved there with the Aldrich s two month old daughter, Bess s widowed mother, and the Cobbs Elmwood would become the locale, by whatever name she called it, of her many short stories, and it would also be the setting for some of her books Aldrich had won her first writing prize at fourteen and another at seventeen, having been writing stories since childhood However, for two years after the family moved to Elmwood, Aldrich was too busy with local activities to write Then in 1911 she saw a fiction contest announcement in the Ladies Home Journal and wrote a story in a few afternoons while the baby napped Her story was one of six chosen from among some 2,000 entries From that time on, Aldrich wrote whenever she could find a moment between caring for her growing family and her household chores Indeed, she commented that, in the early days, many a story was liberally sprinkled with dishwater as she jotted down words or ideas while she worked Aldrich s first book, Mother Mason, a compilation of short stories, was published in 1924 In May 1925, shortly before her second book, Rim of the Prairie was published, Charles Aldrich died of a cerebral hemorrhage, leaving Bess a widow with four children ranging from four to sixteen Her writing now became the means of family support with her pen she put all the children through college Aldrich s short stories were as eagerly sought and read as her novels, and she became one of the best paid magazine writers of the time Her work appeared in such magazines as The American, Saturday Evening Post, Ladies Home Journal, Collier s, Cosmopolitan, and McCall s Aldrich also wrote several pieces on the art of writing, and these were published in The Writer.In 1934, Aldrich was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of Nebraska, and in 1949 she received the Iowa Authors Outstanding Contributions to Literature Award She was posthumously inducted into the Nebraska Hall of Fame in 1973.

321 Reply to “Song of Years”

  1. A wonderful old fashioned novel that appealed to my pioneer tale fanaticism The history of 2 neighboring towns in Iowa in the mid 1800 s and the settlers who helped them grow, in particular the Martin family with 2 sons and 7 daughters, a big, rambunctious, loving family who were always ready to laugh and joke A family saga with all the usual births, deaths, marriages, disappointments, crop failure, bad weather, and yes, even the Civil War thrown in for good measure At first I thought I would ge [...]

  2. It wasn t until page 380 or so that I realized I had read this before I had to laugh The characters were so different to me this time around that I really hadn t recognized them or the setting, for that matter I really enjoyed getting to know the mom and other sisters this time around, the dad too Aldrich did a great job of representing the real toils of everyday life and the timeline of marriage and family The war really takes a toll on relationships civil war I got a small peak at what it must [...]

  3. This was my mothers favorite book as a girl and she introduced it to me for the first time when I was 14 The rugged romance of the un broken prairie life captivated me from the first page I was enad by the hopes and dreams of the Martin family set against the emotional backdrop of the Civil War and learned to love them as dear friends Suzanne, the heroine of the story, was truly a kindred spirit Over the years, I have read this at least 4 times and as I mature so does my understanding and apprec [...]

  4. I first read this book about 40 years ago and I can t believe I ve found it again after all these years It was one of my favorite books in the high school library and have wanted to reread it to see if it was as wonderful a story as I remembered I ve ordered it online and look forward to seeing an old friend.

  5. I read this a number of years ago and for some reason never reviewed it I ve reread the ending several times It s a family drama set in Iowa territory, ending years later toward the end of the Civil War era The characters are some of the most memorable I ve encountered.

  6. I wish I had read this book much sooner, as it is a really a pioneer story of the history of Cedar Falls and Waterloo, Iowa The book starts in 1854 and goes up to just after the Civil War in 1865 I loved reading about the main character, Jeremiah Martin, who is actually Bess Streeter s grandfather, Zimri Streeter, who was one of the founders of Cedar Falls, Iowa, and was active in founding the Republican Party and took part in the Iowa Legislature, and rode to Georgia during the Civil War to bri [...]

  7. I loved this book even though parts of it repeated and drug on I was hooked and was saddened by its ending, like I had to say goodbye to this awesome family I grew to love and understand I m especially bummed by the fact that the book is no longer in print so I ll be scouring antique shops, half priced book stores, library sales, etc until I find a copy for my very own This is definitely one I plan to read again and again.I picked this book up after doing a search of my library s catalog for boo [...]

  8. Wow I picked up this book quite a while ago and lost interest after a few chapters I guess I d been in the mood for something fast paced But I d heard so many good things about it and it s my mother in law s favorite book so I tried it again This time I wondered why I d ever put it down It was amazing and had me completely re captured from the first chapter It s not fast paced It s slow and steady But so good The setting is the 1850 s in the prairies of Iowa Interesting to read about that time [...]

  9. Written in 1938, Song of Years is a historical fiction that follows the historical development of Iowa from 1854 1862 with the railroads, elections, the Civil War, and Abraham Lincoln The fictional part follows the Martin Family as an integral pioneer family with 7 girls and 2 boys their lives and loves on the small town rural frontier.This book is not a rip roaring, thrill around every page book It meanders along like the Red Cedar River where the towns are situated However, it is charming with [...]

  10. So, I was not so very impressed First, the whole thing took too long because it was BEFORE the couple hooked up, and really I just was waiting for that to happen As opposed to A Lantern in Her Hand, which is wonderful because it continues on AFTER they get married, which to me is interesting Also, there were some good characters like all the sisters, but you don t REALLY get to know them very well And I wish we could have really gotten to know them Also, the guy Wayne is hardly in the book at al [...]

  11. I think it must have been a day after school during 8th grade We were at the bookstore and allowed to buy one book I remember when I chose it from the bottom shelf I had no idea it was written during the late 19th century until much later I loved it so much that I wrote a term paper on it later in high school That was a long time ago Each time I pick it up I rediscover every description of the prairie, every breathless detail It is amazing how she writes such timeless words that touch your heart [...]

  12. Bess Streeter Aldrich is probably the queen of prairie books I read A Lantern in her Hand when I was twelve, and thought it was great After that, I tried to read all of her books As for the story the hero and the heroine are kept apart for way too long until the last page I hate that I stayed up late at night reading, to make sure the hero would show up at the last minute to save the heroine from marrying the bad guy Aside from that, the writing is beautiful and poetic, and the descriptions of t [...]

  13. I don t think I can write a review that does this book justice Fabulous A portrait of an American family in the early days of the westward movement, and what happens as the nine children grow up, marry, and follow their destiny Compelling storyline, coupled with Mrs Aldrich s masterly writing, makes this book a gem Don t miss it.

  14. I m going to have to try this book again at another time This book moved a little too slow for me I kept waiting for the story to get to the climax but it never did I gave up and just skipped ahead to find out what happened between the young couple.

  15. A little old fashioned in writing style, but a wonderful story with characters you can t help but root for, a lovely romance, and a pioneer setting that makes you feel you are there One of my all time favorites

  16. This is one of those old, sometimes hard to find books, but such a gem I finally bought it used and it has been one of my favorites I love all the books I ve read by Bess Streeter Aldrich and would recommend any of them.

  17. I immenseY enjoyed this adult pioneer era read There were lots of details and the story at times seems to move slowly, however, the sweetness and family ties transcend I love that the author develops several characters and shows us their development rather than telling us.

  18. The pioneer love story of Suzanne and Wayne, in the new state of Iowa Takes place during pre and post Civil War era.

  19. I love Bess Streeter Aldrich but I just could not get through this book It had none of the appeal of most of her other books and short stories at least not for me.

  20. I love the part where Suzanne goes out with her students to watch the train full of soldiers leaving Wayne Lockwood stops the whole train just for her Yes, he s my lover.

  21. 3 This is a charming old pioneer story I found the Martin sisters enjoyable, but the story moved slowly without much action.

  22. Impossible to give an unbiased review since I originally read this, one of my mother s favorite stories, as a child in a first edition my mother owned Plus, my mother gave me a middle name that is that of the lead female in this romance, Suzanne A sweeping story that doesn t get blinkered on just a romantic pair Details are given to the historic time, many characters, the environment One is transported to the prairie To this day when I pass a graveyard I see than just the stones.

  23. It was an okay story Simplistic writing and a too drawn out story line It was recommended to me because of the setting early Iowa settlers

  24. What a lovely story I couldn t read it fast enough It s lighter, that s for sure, but I loved reading about our country at a younger age I ve always had a romantic vision of myself as a pioneer girl, so this book had me on page 1.

  25. My grandparents gave this book to me for my high school graduation in 1995 I read it 2 3 times a year is well written never fails to life my spirits.

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