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OK - This is a creative work of non-fiction. Lois Kathryn Herr, has written the story of her mother Kathryn Nisley (1904-2007).


What’s it about?  - This story is written imaginatively as a diary, in the first person. The protagonist is Kathryn, in 1923, the year she will have her 19th birthday. The story is set near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA. Kathryn writes the diary addressed to “Dear Woman of My Dreams,” to her older self - who she dreams of becoming one day.


What can you say about the story telling? – The book is beautifully set out, with cameos at the beginning explaining Kathryn’s large family tree. The diary itself contains regular diary entries that describe Kathryn’s young life and in particular her epic voyage with her beloved grandmother, across America to Indiana, and then to Missouri, Colorado, and Oklahoma. Lois has taken great care in the historical detail of her story, which makes an interesting comparison of modern day life for young people.

What did you think of the characterisation? – Kathryn is bright, committed to her college studies and her music, and contemplating her past and her future. I was interested in her past-times, she reads a lot of contemporary novels, and  it amused me how often she and her mother or grandmother spent the afternoon or evening ironing! They also enjoyed family gatherings, and sharing music, and going to the movies. Kathryn was a church goer and wanted to be close to God, but this did not over shadow her young girls’ hopes and dreams.

I was amused by the contents of her Christmas stocking in 1923 ...  “a bracelet, a wax set, silk shirt, perfume, hairpins, powder puffs, stockings, candy, mesh bag, galoshes and a boudoir cap!”


I was moved by Kathryn’s New Year’s Resolutions in 1923 ...”I want to make it the best year I have ever had. I want to make it bright and happy for others. I want to live life closer to God.”

And soon after she wrote ... I need to know who you are, Woman of My Dreams.”

Kathryn had some suitors in the book, but none of them particularly took her fancy. I was pleased to know that she found love later in life, and went on to have her daughter, our writer,  Lois.

The voice of the story is gentle, polite but strong and in keeping with the time period.


What was good about reading this book? – I liked several things about this book.

I loved the twist – and without spoiling the book the second part of the book was charming and very cleverly done. I loved the descriptions of the Pulman trains which were the luxury way to travel in the early 20th century. Kathryn’s trip over the Rocky Mountains was most enlightening. I thought her idea of writing a diary to her older self was a brilliant way of standing in her mothers’ shoes and trying to imagine what her life had been like.


What didn’t you like? – I would have liked a map of Kathryn’s route as my American geography isn’t good!


How did reading the book make you feel? – This is the first non-fiction book I have reviewed so I was impressed with Lois’s style and attention to detail. Anyone interested in Family History will love reading this book. It’s a sweet and charming tale, and deserves a welcoming audience.


Would you recommend this book? – Yes. It’s easy to read, a good story and well told.


How many Daisies for overall readability and enjoyment?


Daisy Mae x x




4 out of 5 daisies!

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