September is like a quiet day after a whole week of wind. I mean real wind that blows dirt into your eyes and hair and between your teeth and roars in your ears after you’ve gone inside.
This is the story of a year and a half in the life of a young woman named Ellen Webb. Her father is from a substantial New England family and her mother a poor peasant from rural Russia. They met during World War I when her father was stationed in Russia then wounded and nursed back to health by the young woman with whom he falls in love. When he brought his bride home she was not accepted by his traditional New England family. So the young couple bought a ranch in eastern Montana where they are both accepted. Together they established a dry land wheat farm and adjust to the cycle of good and bad years.
Ellen grows up an only child. When it is time for her to go to college they have a full crop and prices are good so they can send Ellen to college. She goes off to college in Minnesota, meets a young man from Vermont and they become engaged. When she brings him home to the meet her family he is shocked by the isolation and the foreignness of her mother and he breaks off the engagement. When the next year’s crop is bad and there is no money for Ellen to go back to college, she takes a job teaching in a one room school house. There she experiences tragedy and misunderstanding. When she returns home she learns to love the beauty and isolation of the high plains and to be proud of her heritage.
This is not a new book, having first been published in 1944 and then reissued in 1992 by the University of Nebraska Press. But it doesn’t matter how old the book it. It is a timeless story about dealing with people and difficult circumstances.
Check the BPL catalog for this title: Winter Wheat