One for blackbird, one for the crow, One for the cutworm, and one to grow. – Traditional
Followers of my book reviews will recall that I am drawn to books that take place in middle or western America during the period from the middle 1880s through the Great Depression. You know, ala My Antonia, by Willa Cather. And furthermore, I judge books by their cover, no matter what anyone says. I mean, really!…..
One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow, by Olivia Hawker, not only has a title that caught my attention immediately, but it takes place in rural Wyoming in the late 1870s. And look at that beautiful cover.
The Bemis family and the Webber family farm out in the middle of nowhere, miles away from the nearest town in rural Wyoming. One day Ernest Bemis is out hunting and comes upon his wife Cora having sex with his neighbor Substance Webber. Before he has time to think, he shoots Substance dead. He subsequently turns himself into the town sheriff and is sentenced to two years in the town jail.
Winter is upon them, and Cora is left to fend for herself and her children. At the same time, Substance’s wife Nettie Mae and her son Clyde are in the same boat. Needing each other to survive, the Cora and her kids move in with Nettie Mae, who naturally hates them. However, Nettie Mae knows she needs their working hands and stored food as much as they need hers.
What follows is a lovely — simply beautiful — account of how forgiveness and friendship and love for nature and one another can overcome unbelievable hardships and obstacles.
Don’t misunderstand — this is not a book of action. It’s lyrical and slow-moving and doesn’t contain a lot of dialogue. But the writing is so beautiful it’s almost poetic.
One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow will be one of my favorite books of 2020.