A Worthwhile Journey
This is Jacqueline Baker’s first novel. Set in the early 1900’s in the Saskatchewan’s Sand Hills, The Horseman’s Graves is about a community of German immigrant settlers’ in particular, two families; the Schoffs and the Krausses.
Both families have lived next door to each other since their families immigrated. Now in the second generation, the families continue to hold a grudge for each other. Leo Krauss is scorned by the community for his rudeness and his odd behavior. Stolanus and Helen Schoff are outcast from the greater community after their son gets run over by a wagon. He lives but must endure growing up physically scarred, perhaps with mild brain damage, and suffering from seizures. Many of the superstitious community still believe that seizures are the work of the devil.
Despite all this, the Schoff farm prospers and with the help of Lathias, the Schoff’s young farmhand the boy grows up. Meanwhile, Leo Krauss gets married to a woman who has a teenage girl, Elizabeth. Lathias and the Schoff boy befriend Elizabeth and starts taking almost daily horseback rides to the river. One day in the winter the Schoff boy and Elizabeth go to the river alone and argue about Lathias. The boy walks away, but looks back and no longer sees Elizabeth. It is presumed that she fell through the ice and drown, but the body is not recovered. There is speculation the Schoff boy may have done something intentionally, but this is never proved.
Though this story takes a slow meandering path, it depicts the beautiful yet harsh landscape of the Saskatchewan Alberta boarder and has many plot twists and turns. It does go somewhere, but you must be willing to travel slowly, at least at the beginning. I am not always the most patient reader. I usually like to get into the plot rather quickly. However, I enjoyed the slower journey that Jacqueline Baker’s takes us on. The journey of passion, sin, redemption, through an amazing landscape of time, place, and people.
I look forward to reading more by Jacqueline Baker and recommend this book.
Thanks to Harper Collins for a copy of this book!
Note: If you have also reviewed this book, please feel free to post your link in the comments. I will then add it to the end of my review.
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