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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Review: Jenford: A Short History of Upland, A Novel by Hendrik E. Sadi

Title: Jenford: A Short History of Upland, A Novel
Author: Hendrik E. Sadi
Pages: 200
Publisher: iUniverse, Inc. (January 11, 2008)
Genre: Fiction / Historical Fiction
Edition: Standard

Perfect for : Personal reading, possible book club read

In a nutshell: A fascinating look into the harsh life faced by people following the Civil War. Read as a farm is started, a family raised, automobiles are introduced, and women's independence is growing. It is a story full of family, responsibility, and abandonment; only the strong choose to remain on the farm to face the day-to-day challenges. The story itself is well-developed, giving the reader a good feeling of what life was like for earlier generations. At times I struggled with the writing style, as the story is written by a man born in Norway, who lived in the Middle East and Far East prior to moving to the United States. Overall, a great book that really feels like a real family history!

From the Publisher (http://www.iuniverse.com/):
When the son of a nearby neighbor brings a plate of food to a local farmer during the Christmas holiday season in the late 70's, he is shocked to believe that the farmer might have wanted to end his life by freezing to death.While the farmer's son fires up the old woodstove in the room he is in and brings in wood, he asks about an old black and white photograph of a short, stout woman he has seen pinned on the wall. The farmer tells him the history of his family and the farming community that was established when his grandfather came back from the Civil War.

And he goes back home imagining how it might have been and remembers his own early teenage years on Mt. Lake in northwestern Connecticut as a way of life he and the farmer have lost.

First Paragraph:
The time was after both Kelsey Jenford and Terence Jenford had passed away, lying in their coffins in the funeral home, all dressed and combed so nicely that my mother had observed to me that she had never seen them so well dressed and clean. I couldn't help but see then those two short stature brothers, wearing bib overalls and work shirts they would button all the way up to their throat, walking their workhorse down the dirt road on Mt. Lake towards the hay mower standing in one of the fields needing to be cut.

My Review:
This book provides a very interesting look into farming life after the Civil War, when people faced harsh times and changes including automobiles and women's independence.

Characters: The author has created a very diverse group of characters. While the focus seems to be on those who remain at the farm, there are characters who leave a lasting impression throughout the book.

Story-Line: We see progress being made, and leaving an impact on one particular family post-Civil War.

Readability: I enjoyed reading the book, although I had to re-read a few conversations to make sure I really knew who was speaking as the dialog was written a little differently than I am used to.

Overall: An interesting look into a small family and how they and their farm developed post-Civil War. Not being a huge historian myself, it at least gave me a better idea of life during that time, and some of the struggles and influences that people faced.

About the Author: (from the publisher's site)
Hendrik E. Sadi was born in Norway and lived in the Middle East and Far East for some of his pre and teenage years. Sadi was educated here and abroad and started writing late in his life.He is currently living in the USA.

If you have reviewed this book and would like me to add a link to your review, please leave me a comment!


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a good book. I know what you mean about the dialogue - that's happened to me in certain books before.

Anna said...

Dialogue can make or break a book for me. This sounds like an interesting book.

Diary of an Eccentric

Sandra said...

I have to read and review this book. It's sounds like a story I'd enjoy from what you said. A good review, thanks for the reminder.

Beth F said...

Thanks for this review. I am interested in the Civil War era, so this looks like a good one for me.

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