I love to read historical fiction/romance for many reasons. I get to learn about bits of history that might have been glossed over or even totally absent in the history books. That is exactly what happened when I read Wildflower Words by Sam Ledel.
This novel is set in a small mining community in Utah called Cedar Springs in 1935, right in the middle of The Great Depression. Lida Jones and her father, both immigrants from Russia, move to Cedar Springs so Mr. Jones can work in the mine. Lida is offered a job as a Pack Horse Librarian. She takes reading materials to homes all around the area, getting to know many of the residents this way. She gradually begins to feel like this place might be a true home for her, especially after she meets Hazel Thompson and her family. Unfortunately, her father may not feel the same way about Cedar Springs as his daughter.
This really is a lovely romance between Lida and Hazel. Being in a tiny community in the middle of the depression, though, makes it harder for the two to be together. The story also touches on the effects of clinical depression and alcoholism as well as a hint of the discrimination immigrants faced during this time period.
The characters really make this book a treat to read. Lida and Hazel are easy to connect with, and honestly, I really want to meet Hazel’s mom Clara Thompson. She would be a wonderful person to have as a friend. All of the characters are realistic and work well in the story.
The Pack Horse Library and the women who worked as librarians were real. It began as a work program created by the government to help women have paying jobs, and also to help people in rural communities who otherwise might not have the ability to get books and other materials to read. While I knew general information about the depression era work programs, I hadn’t heard of this particular one before. Now I want to know more.
This is an entertaining historical fiction/romance novel. I’m very glad I got to read this story.
I received an ARC from NetGalley and Bold Strokes Books for an honest review.