The Classics Club ~ O Pioneers! by Willa Cather

I was completely captivated by this story. It was a difficult book to put down and when I did, I returned, eager to read on. Alexandra Bergson is a strong, intelligent female heroine. She has three brothers.

“His sister was a tall, strong girl, and she walked rapidly and resolutely, as if she knew exactly where she was going and what she was going to do next.” (4)

“She had a serious thoughtful face, and her clear, deep blue eyes were fixed intently on the distance, without seeming to see anything, as if she were in trouble.” (4)

The Bergson family arrive in Nebraska when Alexandra is a young girl. When her father dies, Alexandra manages to turn the land her father left her, into a flourishing farm. In the beginning, the conditions are tough, the environment uncooperative, hardship all around, but Alexandra perseveres.

“The land did it. It had its little joke. It pretended to be poor because nobody new how to work it right; and then, all at once, it worked itself. It woke up out of its sleep and stretched itself, and it was so big, so rich, that we suddenly found we were rich, just from sitting still.” (59)

This story begins with humble beginnings. Many of the Bergson’s neighbors lived in sod huts, but Alexandra’s mother refused. She insisted on a cabin. The winters were harsh and frigid. Many families left, moving on. Alexandra persevered.

This book is so well written. The bleak Nebraska prairie comes to life in this wonderful story of family, community, struggle, tragedy, perseverance and hope. I loved all the characters, well, most of them. Alexandra, Carl Linstrum, Emil, Marie and the eccentric Ivar. I liked Frank, he was deeply troubled, but I did like him. My heart went out to him. I loved the book. It is definitely one of my favorite classic reads. I look forward to reading more books by this author. 5 ***** Nebraskan stars!

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