+Book Review+ Go Away Home by Carol Bodensteiner : A #histfic coming-of age story!

Posted Friday, 18 July, 2014 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , 7 Comments

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 Go Away Home by Carol Bodensteiner

Go Away Home Virtual Tour with HFVBT

Published By: Rising Sun Press, 1 July, 2014
Official Author Websites:
Site | @CABodensteiner| Facebook | GoodReads | LinkedIn

Available Formats: Paperback Page Count: 382

Converse on Twitter: #GoAwayHome, #GoAwayHomeBlogTour, & #HFVBTBlogTour

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Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Go Away Home” virtual book tour through HFVBT: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the publisher Rising Sun Press, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Go Away Home by Carol Bodensteiner Book Synopsis:

Liddie Treadway grew up on a family farm where options for her future were marriage or teaching. Encouraged by suffragette rhetoric and her maiden aunt, Liddie is determined to avoid both and pursue a career. Her goal is within her grasp when her older sister’s abrupt departure threatens to keep her on the farm forever.

Once she is able to experience the world she’s dreamed of, Liddie is enthralled with her independence, a new-found passion for photography, and the man who teaches her. Yet, the family, friends, and life of her youth tug at her heart, and she must face the reality that life is not as simple, or the choices as clear-cut, as she once imagined.

GO AWAY HOME is a coming-of-age novel that explores the enduring themes of family, friendship, and love, as well as death and grief. This novel will resonate with anyone who’s confronted the conflict between dreams and reality and come to recognize that getting what you want can be a two-edged sword.

Author Biography:Carol Bodensteiner

Carol Bodensteiner grew up in the heartland of the United States, and she continues to draw writing inspiration from the people, places, culture, and history of the area. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society. She is the author of Growing Up Country: Memories of an Iowa Farm Girl, a memoir. Her essays have been published in several anthologies. Go Away Home is her first novel.


Mid-West America : Americana as a setting:

I grew up reading a heap of Children’s Literature and Classical Literature for Young Readers which dealt with the Heartland of America, as much as the life on the frontier whilst America was just starting to sprout wings as settlers moved further West from the East. I also was fortunate to settle into stories which developed a positive outlook and relationship of the Native American tribes between Canada and America; not always focusing on the war between the settlers and the Indians, but rather stories which enriched the notion that oft-times a truce of peace and an alliance in trade was able to be transacted. What always fascinated me by the hearty life of ranching and farming, is the ordinary joys that whispered into the hearts and minds of those who lived aplenty off the land they worked, harvested, and grew families upon. Even in Native American cultures and societies there was a pure sense of honour and pride knowing that what you could either hunt or grow could not only sustain your own family but your neighbours and community.

My own ancestral roots include farmers and workers for civil rights and liberties, which is why I was thankful to see Aunt Kate and her suffrage movement work included in this particular story. The quality of food from farm to fork (or plate; there are two ready phrases in use nowadays) cannot be compared to industrial methods, and I am happily a locavore and have been for most of my days. The convenience of purchasing locally grown foods in places outside larger cities is still a means to an end to achieve, but the idea of lowering our footprint and supporting local farmers is at the core of my being. The best way to impact the economy is in direct support of local producers of food, commerce, and supplies. I also appreciate settling into stories where there is an ‘other age’ quality to the story-telling, where life was not bent against the wheel towards working one’s soul into an early grave, but rather, the work which was done was in effort to create a better living for yourself and those you took care of. To give industry to the hours of daylight and mirth to the hours that waxed into the moon.

Communication was limited (for the most part) to postal mail – letters and the correspondences exchanged between family and friends alike was not only a convenience but a lifeline built between everyone. In my own childhood, I came to appreciate the joy of sending and receiving letters quite readily; a tradition that I carry forward today. My eyes always glisten with a bit of eager happiness when a writer includes samples or full passages of the ‘letters’ being sent back and forth between their characters. In Go Away Home, the letters are warm reminders of how special a connection is to be kept and how dear the conversation is to those who send and receive postal mail.

My Review of Go Away Home:

Opening up the pages of Go Away Home is very much like stepping inside your family’s front door, settling in to their daily rhythms, and aiding where there was work to be done. Bodensteiner paints a strong light on ordinary life to the level that you start to breathe in the words with a settling of joy washing over you, as the family inside her story knits into your heart as much as your mind’s eye. I appreciate the nodding of life stitched into family dynamics in fiction, as we read different aspects of life within the family circumference we start to see where we all are interconnected and how each of us belongs to the whole of who we are through our lineage. Little nibbles of recognition can be gleamed by the beautiful small details she weaves into the paragraphs, allowing you to soak into this world, acquainting yourself with the life of an active farm, and nestling into the story as though time itself has stopped the outside clock.

Liddie is a strong young girl who has taken on the roles of a young woman despite her age not yet elevated to her twenties; she enjoys the role she holds within her family, yet she has a deep-set longing to break out of their sphere. To attempt to carve out her own dream beyond her humble roots on the farm, and see if she can make herself stand on her own bearings and feet, rather than relying on following the traditional trajectory of becoming a teacher. She yearns for self-sufficiency but not at the cost of sacrifice she feels would destroy a part of her spirit. She very much reminds me of Caddie Woodlawn, a feisty character I became well acquainted with in my youth, as like Sara Stanley (from the televised Canadian serial ‘Road to Avonlea‘) and Anne Shirley (of ‘Anne of Green Gables‘) she is not one to allow her parents nor her contemporary peers determine her future. She’s one of the independent spirits who wants to have a bit of say in what she does, how she does it, and when she starts living a freer life outside of the expected.

I applauded the inclusion of her Aunt Kate, who is serving as Liddie’s strongest supportive voice and mentor in the story, as she knows exactly how Liddie’s mind and heart are aligned; having lived an unconventional life herself, single and unwed. I nodded in full agreement with the observational narrative surrounding the making of bread (from scratch) as an Uncle in my own family struggled with tension and stress; through the art of bread-making his body released what could not be wrought out otherwise. Liddie is a character you want to encourage a friendship with and like the other characters I’ve mentioned, she has a lasting quality about her and the story set around this period of her life.

As the choices wrought out of love on her sister Amelia’s behalf, Liddie starts to see the workings of how life can afford a diverted path from the once you’ve dreamt to follow. She is not suited to adaptive change, nor is her belief in how life knits together on an opposite course than the one longed after a possibility she is willing to believe in. Liddie’s life starts to unfold quite rapidly from the moment her sister takes her sudden exit, as her father’s health takes a turn for the worse during an unexpected accident whilst a heifer struggled to release a stillbourn calf. I smiled whilst acknowledging her Mum giving her the advice I always held in my own heart about windows, doors, and God’s grace.

The cadence of rhythm of Liddie’s life prior to the jolting loss of her father tethered her to a harmony she was not aware of until her unexpected window opened for her during a rather ordinary day. The farm for all its aches of anguish was an invisible thread of her spirit, tethering her to her family and to the world around her. On the fringes of leaving that world behind, she started to realise what she would be saying good-bye too and what she would be gaining by taking her leave. Throughout the course of Liddie’s life the most surprising revelation is where her heart was truly leading her and where her destiny truly lay. What I appreciated about reading her story is seeing how each choice she made, she considered and weighed with earnest attention. She never attempted to act in haste, nor did she attempt to make a wrong choice – she simply followed her heart, learnt the skills of two trades by which she could sustain herself financially and found love as a byproduct of the path she took originally. I love stories which etch together out of the hours in which we find ourselves. Characters writ such as Liddie are the counter balance to our own living halves, processing and assessing how to live by taking one step forward and staying open to the experience which life affords.

A notation on the descriptions of dressmaking & design:

I oft find myself mesmorised by the dressmakers and designers of costumers in our modern age, but it is the roots of the Fashion Industry itself which was carved out by trailblazers and innovative seamstresses throughout history who deserve most of the credit. For not only liberating women throughout history to earn their own keep and set up a shoppe which would lead to their own independence, but to give way to design which would allow women more flexibility and use from their garments. This is one reason I am always drawn into fictional stories which are set around haute houses of fashion (i.e. “The House of Elliott“) in both literature and motion picture. I need to work my way through Kate Alcott‘s “The Dressmaker”, as I simply adored Isobel Wolff‘s “A Vintage Affair”. It can also be noted that my love and appreciation of “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries” is also attributed to the costumer who brings Phryne’s style to life and light!

There are certain writers who have given us a visible way to see the designs of the dresses alight in our mind’s eye in such a way as to feel as though we are living through the character’s eyes most directly. Bodensteiner’s gift for delivery of these visual stimulus and clues is a credit to her research and her way of knitting in visual elements that are sometimes lost inside other stories. She reminds me very much of Wolff in this regard, as in both novels I was not frustrated without being able to ‘see’ the designs, but rather, I could very much have walked a step inside them instead!

On the writing voice & style of Carol Bodensteiner:

Bodensteiner writes a story with a gentle and skilled hand, giving you the pleasure of reading a story that ambles into your mind’s eye as easily as sitting on a front porch, sipping tea with a cherished friend. She delves into the place inside our hearts where we wrestle out the truths of life, and the woes of life as its lived forward and realised to be a bit of a harder path to walk than we originally felt in our days of youth. Childhood and adulthood leave different impressions on our lives as a whole, and as we leave one age for another, certain realities have a bit of a shift in perspective than we had appreciated to notice beforehand. Bodensteiner reaches back into the classical story-telling grace of giving her characters an encouragement of innocence and an appreciation for learning through their choices. She presents a story as vivid as any journal or memoir of a relative you long to speak with after they pass into the next life, and fill the whole of the novel with realistic truths and a backdrop of honesty that is refreshing to find in the historical fiction genre.

This is a story that knits into your heart as you soak inside its core, giving you a firm realisation that you’ve found a family your emotionally connected too. I shall not soon forget this novel and I cannot wait to read more by the author who knows how to lull us with her symphony of family, friendship, and the evolving adventure living our lives gives to us all.

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Blog Book Tour Stop,
courtesy of Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Virtual Road Map of “Go Away Home” Blog Tour found here:

Go Away Home Virtual Tour with HFVBT

Go Away Home
by Carol Bodensteiner
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Genres: Historical Fiction

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Published by Rising Sun Press

on 1st July, 2014

Format: Paperback

Pages: 382

Previously, I showcased an Author Guest Post from Ms. Bodensteiner!

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Reader Interactive Question:

What captivates you the most by dressmakers and seamstresses in stories? Do you appreciate the historical aspect of following the history of where men and women transformed their style of personality? Which authors and stories ignited to the forefront of your memory as you read over this review? Which would you suggest as a ‘next read’?

{SOURCES: “Go Away Home” Book Cover, synopsis, tour badge, author photograph and HFVBT badge were provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and were used by permission. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Related Articles:

Guest Post “Six Networking Tips to Promote your Book Online” – (closedthecover.com)

Guest Post “Researching Historical Fiction” – (letthemreadbooks.blogspot.com)

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Friday, 18 July, 2014 by jorielov in 20th Century, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Bookish Discussions, Bread Making, Child out of Wedlock, Children's Classics, Children's Literature, Coming-Of Age, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Family Life, Father-Daughter Relationships, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Iowa, Locavore, Mid-West America, Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Postal Mail | Letters & Correspondence, Prior to WWI, Sewing & Stitchery, Siblings, Story knitted out of Ancestral Data, The House of Elliott, the Nineteen Hundreds, The World Wars, Unexpected Pregnancy, Women's Suffrage

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7 responses to “+Book Review+ Go Away Home by Carol Bodensteiner : A #histfic coming-of age story!

    • Hallo Rissi,

      You’re quite welcome with the shout-outs; always love to pass on a bit of joy to those I like conversing with on Twitter & inside the blogosphere! I had a feeling you might enjoy this one, and therefore, I wanted to make sure you knew about it! Thanks for dropping by!

  1. Jorie, I am honored and humbled by your review of Go Away Home. Also thrilled. Knowing you had such a difficult week, makes your review all the more precious. I hope your friend is better or almost there by now.

    Thanks again for participating in my virtual book tour, for reading and reviewing.

    • Hallo, Hallo Ms. Bodensteiner!

      How wonderfully delightful to see you on my blog! I had a bit of a full plate yesterday, out more than in, yet when I saw your comment come through I was smiling in gratitude! Thank you for your support this week, it meant so much to me! I was a bit caught up with the health of my friend, and thankfully *knock on wood* she is rallying through and coming out of the ordeal! I did not know this at the time I read and finalised my review — your story was a true lift of spirits in that regard! As it allowed me to soak into the story and out of my personal stress!

      I am simply honoured in return to have found your novel and am grateful for the story you told!
      I cannot wait to see what you write next!

  2. Jorie, that very first paragraph in the Book Synopsis made me think of George in “It’s a Wonderful Life” and how he could never travel and fulfill his dreams, the first obstacle having been his father dying and him having to take over, but then his brother getting married and pursuing a different path.

    Anyway, from your description, it sounds like Carol’s writing pulls you deep into the story, its world and characters—you get lost in it. That’s what I love! Thank you for such a beautiful review :)

    • Hallo, Hallo Ms. Donna,

      Yes, “It’s A Wonderful Life” is a wonderful example – I drifted back into my classical literature past memories, but this fits perfectly as well! In fact, more than you might realise! :) I was so deeply stirred and touched by the narrative I tried not to think of too much outside of the scope; I am so thankful the words I shared conveyed what I had hoped as it was such a difficult week for me, this story simply pulled me out of my muddled mind and gave me a buoyancy I was hoping to find. I love finding stories which transport you into such a deeper state of reading as if to transform a bit of who the characters are inside your own DNA.

      This kind of review I find goes directly to the level of writing a note of gratitude to the author — they are my favourite reviews to give and I have blessed to write quite a few within the past few weeks! Between the family in “Losing Touch” and now this one tonight, I am in true bliss! And, on the wingtip of dipping back into the O’ Connor saga by Julie Lessman! My heart is truly full of joy.

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