Review of October in the Earth by Olivia Hawker
Hawker's newest historical fiction gives a wonderfully evocative peek into a gritty period, as her main protagonist escapes a bad marriage to ride the rails during the Depression and reinvents herself completely.
I love Olivia Hawker's books (see links to my other reviews below), and her newest historical fiction is set in Depression-era Kentucky.
Adella (Del) Wensley is the wife of the showy, prosperous, revered local preacher. She's learned to bite her tongue, and she feels like the poor treatment her husband shows her may be deserved, as after eight years of marriage, they haven't conceived a child. Her life's purpose is meant to be made up of motherhood, catering to her husband's needs, and keeping house, after all.
But when her husband pushes her too far with abhorrent behavior, Del hops a train and dives into the transient community riding the rails in search of work and survival.
Hawker offers a wonderfully vivid, gritty, sobering, often surprisingly hopeful--but never too easy--peek at Depression-era desperation, forged loyalties, shedding of expectations, and new, hard-fought identities and priorities.
The two women at the heart of the story are tough as nails but vulnerable with each other. Their deep friendship is poignant in its beginning and its end. Whew, a heartbreaker!
Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?
Olivia Hawker is also the author of The Fire and the Ore and The Ragged Edge of Night, and One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow, which I mentioned in the Greedy Reading List Six Great Historical Fiction Stories Set in the American West.
I received a prepublication edition of this book courtesy of NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing.