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The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton
by Jane Smiley

Category: Fiction / Historical
452 pages; ISBN: 0-676-97116-4

Rating: 6/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Jeannine Van Eperen


The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton
Jane Smiley
Alfred A. Knopf
pages 452

A tall, plain, rather spoiled young woman from Quincy, Illinois marries a young abolitionist, prior to the War Between the States and goes with him to Lawrence, Kansas. They settle on a claim and live there and in Lawrence for several months. There is some fighting back and forth between those in Kansas and those in Missouri over the slave question. Lidie Newton is a resourceful woman, who manages to survive in a land of turmoil.

I am sad to report that I did not enjoy this book. I expected to like it. I believe Smiley’s "The Greenlanders" is a wonderful book. I enjoyed "A Thousand Acres" and even The "Duplicate Keys," her contemporary mystery, but I found reading this a chore, and started to give it up several times, but stubbornly, read it to the end. The book was way too long for what Ms Smiley had to tell, and it is a good thing that instead of writing out Kansas Territory, she used K.T. because if she hadn’t, the book would have run another fifty to one hundred pages. Jane Smiley is undeniable a good writer. "The Greenlanders" is one of my favorites, but this one just didn’t do it for me.


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