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Reviews of Able McLaughlins, the (1923)

Review by michael a draper (2010-09-17)
The time of this Pulitzer Prize winning story is toward the conclusion of the Civil War. Families are receiving notifications about injuries, deaths and imprisonment of their loved ones in various war engagements.
<p>Wully McLaughlin returns to his parents' home after escaping from the Confederates where he had been taken prisoner.
<p>Wully spent a brief time at home and visited the home of Christie McNair. They became attached to each other and Wully felt that marriage might take place when the war ended.
<p>When the war did end, he returned for good and immediately went to Christie's home. When he arrives, she doesn't want to see him and her coldness shocks him.
<p>Not giving up and feeling that Christie is the only one for him, he returns to her home secretly and finds her crying on her front porch.
<p>Unable to figure things out, he is on the way back to his parents' farm when he runs into a distant cousin, Peter Keith. When Wully asks Peter if he knows what might be troubling Christie, Peter gets very upset and tells Wully that he asked her to marry him when Wully was away. Wully realizes that Peter had taken advantage of Christy and they have a disagreement which ends with Peter leaving the area.
<p>Now, Wully returns to Christie's home again, reasserts his love for her and asks her to marry him immediately. He also lets on that the child Christie is carrying, is his.
<p>The novel relates the events after that. We learn how the community feels about Christie and the baby and what Wully and his family do to keep appearances as they were.
<p>Another part of the novel is the descriptive manner in which the author shows the difficulty of life in this unpopulated area. In a well told portion of the story, we witness one emigrant who went from Scotland to Iowa after marrying a farmer who was a widower. When she arrived, she found that she would be living in a home that wasn't much better than a sty.
<p>I enjoyed the story and historical descriptions however, the story did meander a bit and was overly long.

(This review refers to the 1923 version titled “The Able McLaughlins”)




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