Title: By The River
Publication Date:March 31, 2015
With three young children at her side, Sarah Ann arrives in the beautiful upper John Day Valley in 1869, a young widow whose husband had disappeared in an Indian raid on their way west.
In 1870, she marries Thomas Martin and begins her life as a rancher’s wife. She and Thomas are successful, hardworking pioneers who love their land and take seriously the job of rearing and educating their nine children.
On her one trip back to New York to visit her mother, Sarah Ann discovers she has been living a lie. The truth liberates her from the reserved stoic nature she has portrayed toward others during her first forty years. The last quarter of the century becomes a backdrop for a modern woman of subtle influence.
Experiencing a new self-worth, Sarah Ann shares her ideas and wisdom with her family and community while never disclosing her secret.
Life is interesting. As a mother, and now a grandmother, I look back over my adult life and see it as a series of vignettes. My memories of things that have happened from my courtship, to our children’s early years and the myriad of stories of family growing pains come back in little spurts. All these stories seem to be punctuated in time capsules, with date stamps of “in the summer of”, or “the year John turned”. Rae Carvel’s By the River
was written much in this vein, a progressive reflection of a pioneer woman’s memories during the latter 1800’s.Through her eyes, the reader was able to witness the early strains of the suffrage movement in Oregon and the struggles of women as they worked to strained to get basic rights. We also watched the struggles within the traditional marriage as she earned for more say in finances and in decisions concerning their plans for their children’s futures. So much of what we take for granted is due to the “battles” our grandmothers and great grandmothers waged a hundred years ago. By the River
did a beautiful job of presenting the story of the life of a pioneer woman, her trials, her victories, and her love of family. There is much be learned from reading this book about women of the west.
I would give this book a 3.5 star rating.
Jae Carvel’s work is inspired by the many stories of her ancestors who all came to Eastern Oregon as pioneers. She is retired from teaching junior high. She and her husband have four children, six grandchildren and one great granddaughter, making them a typically busy family, laughingly known as ‘retired.’ Jae travels, gardens, golfs and writes novels.