Saturday, February 23, 2013
Courting Morrow Little (my review)
I feel I must write a disclaimer before I begin this review of Courting Morrow Little, by the lovely and talented Laura Frantz. I am very blessed to also call her "friend." First, it is my favorite book. Really. It is. Even after reading it a million and a half times over. This review will withhold no good thing because of that. Secondly, Laura wrote a book about topics so dear to my heart that my review may at times feel like a memoir for myself (please pardon that). And, lastly, my emotions may get the best of me- the review may not be quite as complete as I wish, but this is my whole-hearted attempt to explain the depth of this novel and why I cherish Morrow's story.
When I was about five, I do believe I donned my first bonnet and pair of pantaloons. What followed was a million hours more of imagination through reading, watching Little House, and pretending with my best friend in a handmade tepee in my grandmother's backyard. I never let go of the passion in my heart. In fact, it grew, almost to where it would burst. The mystery of past eras, particularly one where the wilderness of Ohio and Kentucky remained and the native peoples still lived freely, captivated my interest constantly. I'd read, I'd write, I'd dream, and so forth. Follow the River was a favorite book in high school. Could you imagine the heartache of the pioneers as well as the American Indians as change pursued and drowned out a unique way of life? I tried to imagine, as my emotions could not let go of such thoughts.
As I got older, particularly my college years, I was able to wrestle those dreams and pursue a degree which allowed my dreams to still carry along and be revisited. I signed up all the anthropology courses I could, especially Native American classes- even American Indian Law! I continued to read those awe-inspiring works of historical fiction. My dad and I kept up our traditions of hikes in forests of the same, hundreds of years ago, as well as a fascinating, annual festival commemorating the 18th century.
I must confess, even at aged 22, when I married my husband, I often wished I had been born in a different time. Fast forward past the birth of three children and into my homeschooling years. This was the time when one's identity can be left in the dust. And, for a time, it had. Depression struck for years. But I kept on reading, reading, reading. Perhaps writing a bit. Trying to keep my own dreams balanced along with those of the precious little ones God entrusted to me now. As God timed it, I read Laura's second novel as I just did not know how to handle the dreams and hopes of my own heart, when I almost had nothing in me left to give to myself. I clearly recall, reading Morrow's story, on the Kindle app, first, and wanting to never, ever let it go from my fingers. I'd gained such STORY that I did not want to relinquish. I read it again that night. And again a few days later.
It's taking me...two years? Two years to figure out how to truly describe why this particular Frantz novel is one I'll forever treasure. Morrow Little- she is a woman who, almost embarrassingly I admit this, I would have loved to have been. She's a woman filled with hopes and dreams that I, as a woman in this modern "now," have experienced or desired to experience. Her story, in bits and in more detail, matched up with my own thoughts. For awhile, as a mother to three growing children, I thought that perhaps my dreams weren't as valuable, even tangible. After the first read of Courting Morrow Little, I realized then how it reflected much of my own intimate meanderings, and feathered into the nooks and crannies of my own hopes. Laura's carefully penned words burst open a door for me, unexpectedly, sweetly, and oh so faithfully.
God's tender nudging came through this book- to understand that He Himself put those creative notions in my brain, no matter how frustrating they can be at times, and IT WAS OKAY. I don't think we can understand all that has helped us through the years, but as my soul yearns for the past, it has given me peace and hope as well. And all those many hours I contemplated a life like Morrow's? Those dreams weren't wasted. It's part of who I am. It's part of what He created in me- and it will be used someday. Perhaps to encourage my own children in what they're passionate for. Perhaps to give them the courage to stand up for what they believe in. Perhaps to pursue their faith endlessly and madly in love with their Creator.
If I could break it down even further, it's the minute details: one friend being faithful, the variance of her twins, Red Shirt's gift of fabric, her wearing of that dress for her wedding, and her father's faithfulness to their God. It's the full circle Morrow comes to where, in the end, a part of her early life stands before her. It's the passion Morrow grows into even more into the journey God set before her- leaving all she'd known for the man she loves. I do not suppose I could read Morrow's story by anyone other than Laura herself. She's a perfecter of her craft. This story was HERS to tell. Just as God is softly calling me to mine, and you to yours.
Thank you, Laura, for the hours upon hours I know you spent making this book all that it is. Thank you for being faithful to your calling. God bless.