I enjoyed reading “Hope in the Land” by Olivia Newport. This novel is set during the Great Depression near Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. It involves the farms of an Amish family and an Englisch family. Henry Edison is sent to the area by the WPA to survey farm women about how they are coping with the Depression in their home life. It is obvious that no one has money, but it is very interesting how each family goes about their business during this time of great deprivation.
The Amish family is quite large and they are a self-sustaining bunch. All of the members of the family help on the farm, growing a vegetable garden, working the fields, caring for the livestock, canning the overabundance, mending, cleaning, cooking and the myriad other tasks that it takes to make a living from the land. In contrast, the Englisch family has problems not spending money. The farm wife does not help on the farm and lets her husband and farm hands to the work. She spends money like she has it, although it is probably her husband’s fault that he has spoiled her unmercifully.
I found this to be a most interesting book to read. Not only is it written about one of my favorite times in history, but it shows amazing contrasts between two different ways of life. How the two come together is enlightening. I think the novel is a good representation of the way life was during that terrible time in our nation’s history. It shows the resilience and resourcefulness of people with the chips are down.
I was offered a free print copy of this book from Barbour Books in return for my honest review. I highly recommend it.