Sunday, November 25, 2007

Review: The Wide Horizon

The Wide Horizon by Loula Grace Erdman, 2007, Bethlehem Books, 279 pages, Softcover.

The Pierce family has now lived in the Texas Panhandle for five years. Shy, insecure, fifteen-year-old Katie, who has always lived in the shadow of her confident, older, sister, Melinda, now steps to the forefront as she takes on new responsibilities when her sister marries and moves away to Amarillo and her mother, upset and worried about Grandmother’s broken hip, leaves to go back to east Texas to take care of her.

Taking over mama’s role of caring for the family is more than a new set of responsibilities for Katie as she puts on hold her dream of studying art and music. With her mother gone, Katie soon finds out just how much she knows about cooking in the kitchen. This is not the only area Katie will have to learn about. Always extremely sensitive, she now must deal with her older brothers’ teasing and the taunting of a bully at school. Oh, what to do and how to handle it!

This is a wonderful story to encourage a young girl to understand what it means to be virtuous and beautiful. Throughout the story, the author makes references to the inner beauty of a young lady’s heart, whether it is Katie’s or the other young women around her.

“Katie was aware of Mr. Palmer’s look of gratitude in Annie’s direction. She remembered her own deep sense of comfort at the sight of Annie when she had first arrived this afternoon. And, remembering all these things, Katie wondered if maybe Annie didn’t have a gift of her own—the gift of making people happy.

Perhaps that was the finest gift of them all.”

A woman’s beauty is not found in her wearing a bonnet to prevent her from turning brown, but much more.

While the opening chapter seems choppy and hard to follow, once the plot develops, the book is hard to put down. The plot comes to an exciting climax when a blizzard suddenly sweeps across the plains, burying Katie alone with the younger students in the one room school house. It is Katie’s resourcefulness that saves the day.

This is the second book in the Tales of the Texas Panhandle series.

Suggested reading level ages 11-Up.

Reviewed by Elizabeth Yank (11/25/2007).

Available from your favorite book store.

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