Dana Bagshaw's personal involvement with the story that she has written is as gripping as the story itself. One can only hope that Ms. Bagshaw will let her own role unfold as she continues to write.
The author's account of an authentic pioneer family is told with an economy of words, both concise and yet, giving details, precious details. Her love for her subjects cannot be concealed, and the kinships are described with the care and gentleness that they deserve.
Ms. Bagshaw's tale revolves around the title character, Mama Grace, who was, in fact, Ms. Bagshaw's great grandmother. The qualities demonstrated by this woman are almost beyond comprehension, for none of the readers of the adventures Mama Grace will know anyone, today, who could do what this woman accomplished, and these feats of hers went on for a good many years. Yet, the well-chosen words constantly reveal the inner strengths of this woman, and she is pure platinum: genuine to the core. One never doubts that she did exactly what is described.
The author does not neglect the several children of Mama Grace. Carefully-drawn, as large as life, the children come to enter the conciousness of the reader in a way that next-door neighbors' children can do, in the best interpretation of those friendships.
The daily adventures--dangers and joys--of Mama Grace and her brood, as the main trip is made, almost gives the reader the comfortable framework of a journal. Since there were journals, letters and other records behind the finished novel, it is refreshing that these shadowy writings are still quietly present in the words that Ms. Bagshaw spins into a story with lyrical tones.
I agree with other reviewers/readers: that there is more to come, from Dana Bagshaw, and again focusing on the Barnet Family, is a promise of another tasty morsel of reading nourishment.
Lorna Stokenbury Pryor
University of Arkansas, College of Business Administration
Ph. D. in Economics (retired)
Fort Smith AR, USA