Gloria Zachgo's newest book is a sequel to her award winning Never Waste Tears, historical fiction at its best. The sequel is titled Never Waste Dreams. It continues the story of the Carters and Taylors who homesteaded on the Kansas prairie in the 1870s.
Though a sequel, Never Waste Dreams can stand on its own as the author does a fine job in bringing in information from the story in the first book. Once you read the second book, you may be moved to backtrack and read the first one.
It is obvious that Ms Zachgo did a great deal of research to make her book authentic to the time period. Nathan and Sarah live in a sod hut, commonly called a 'soddy' quite close to Carl and Hannah. The women are twin sisters, alike in looks but not necessarily in temperament. Even so, there is a strong bond between them. When one or the other needs help, they bang on a washtub to alert the other sister.
The reader experiences the joys and the heartbreaks of each couple as they work to achieve their dreams of owning the land they farm, of building a real house, and of creating a good life in this place so different from their homes back east.
Nathan's brother, Will, and his wife, Martha, move to the area bringing Will and Nathan's mother with them. Unlike his brother, Will settles in Lincoln, the nearest town. Anna, his mother, makes her home with Will's family, but spends time with Nathan and Sarah, too. Happy to be with her sons and their family, she continues to worry about her husband back east who deserted her.
Carl and Hannah have no children, but Carl finds a young boy alone on the prairie, abandoned by his mother. Carl and his wife offer a home to the boy who is scarred, frightened and unable to speak. The marred child becomes a normal boy as he responds to family life with Carl and Hannah.
A horrific tragedy of nature affects everyone in the area, farmers and town folk alike. It left this reader impressed with the strength of humans who can pick up and go on with faith and strength, their dreams feeding on both.
One of the things I especially liked is that the author kept true to the dialect of the people in that era. I also admired the method in which Ms Zachgo told her story. We see the story unfold through each of the main character's point of view. There is a section headed Nathan or Sarah, Carl or Hannah, and Martha. Their names are in bold so you know who is continuing to tell the story. Each one adds to the story as they see it. It's a more unique way to relate a tale than to have an omniscient narrator 'tell' the story.
One of the things I enjoy about historical fiction is that I am learning history in such a pleasant way, and this book teaches a great deal about the area and the time frame in which the story takes place.
I highly recommend you read Never Waste Dreams, especially if you have read the first book. I'm hoping for a third one in the future.
By Nancy Julien Kopp Nancy - September 07, 2021