The Great Meadow, By Elizabeth Madox Roberts

 

From Willa Cather to Jane Smiley, women's fiction of the pioneer era has offered a bracing alternative to cowboy-centred stories of the settlement of the American West.

This rediscovered novel of 1930 graces its genre with a gripping, evocative story of the homesteaders who left Virginia for Kentucky in the 1770s.

Beyond lyrical accounts of landscape and labour, and an affecting portrait of heroine Diony's "wilderness marriage", Roberts explores the distrust, terror and bloodshed that the paleface push into the domain of the "redmen" brings.

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