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A Will of Their Own

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In this striking new novel, Susan Richards Shreve gives us a breathtaking portrait of America since 1900, as witnessed by four generations of strong, passionate women. First is Anna, the lovely immigrant servant whose marriage to a wellborn doctor leads to their expulsion from his Washington family. It is their daughter, Amanda, born New Year's Day, 1900, whose story is the center of the book. Strong-minded and courageous, she runs off to France to photograph World War I and later travels the United States, ...
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Overview

In this striking new novel, Susan Richards Shreve gives us a breathtaking portrait of America since 1900, as witnessed by four generations of strong, passionate women. First is Anna, the lovely immigrant servant whose marriage to a wellborn doctor leads to their expulsion from his Washington family. It is their daughter, Amanda, born New Year's Day, 1900, whose story is the center of the book. Strong-minded and courageous, she runs off to France to photograph World War I and later travels the United States, capturing the pathos of the lives of women and the poor. Her work defines her character as well as that of the swift-moving twentieth century, in which lives are recalled as a series of brief intense moments strung together like a picture album. The ensuing generations--Sara, in the forties, and Eleanor, in the sixties--share Amanda's refusal to bow to convention. Daughters of the New World is a spell-binding chronicle of extraordinary, incident-rich lives, a multigenerational novel with a contemporary sense of time. Susan Richards Shreve has created unforgettable characters who enhance our admiration of American women--their great strength, their capacity for love, and their courage to invent their own lives.

A beautifully written saga of four generations of American women--Ann, her daughter Amanda, her granddaughter Sara, and her great-granddaughter Eleanor. Together and apart they discover themselves, their great strength and courage, and their capacity for love.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This memorable and unsentimental family saga examines five generations of American women from 1860 to the present. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Shreve's novel chronicles the lives of a remarkable family of women. The story begins with passionate Anna, a servant who marries the master's son; scandal drives the couple west. Daughter Amanda grows up with the Chippewe Indians and then, disguising herself as a man, becomes a photographer in France during World War I. Her daughter Sara, Sara's youngest daughter Eleanor, and Eleanor's two young daughters bring the novel into the present. The story develops in brief vignettes, as if one is leafing through albums looking at a series of snapshots while family members tell stories. This technique distances the reader from the characters' thoughts and feelings but maintains a wonderful narrative flow. The terse dialog also contributes to the narrative's smooth flow. Mysterious, stubborn, original, Daughters' compelling women make the book hard to put down. Highly recommended.-- Beth Ann Mills, New Rochelle P.L., N.Y.
School Library Journal
YA-- Shreve creates four generations of strong, daring, unconventional women who become successful individuals, keepers of the family, and recorders of an age. Anna begins this tale in 1890 when she comes to America from Wales as a servant to one of Washington, D. C.'s wealthy physicians. Her unacceptable marriage to his son finds the couple ostracized and in Wisconsin administering on Bad River Reservation to the Chippewa Indians. But it is Anna's daughter, Amanda, who is the central figure in the novel. She is raised in the wilderness, and goes to Europe during World War I as a photographer. Using photography as her mother had used letters, she captures the world around her and attempts to find her place in it. Amanda and her daughter, Sara, travel through the Dust Bowl and document the plight of the poor. Sara's daughter, Eleanor, shows readers the concerns of the liberal '60s, while her children understand that their great-grandmother's photographs and her mother's letters not only record the family's evolution but also the important events through which they lived. This is a wonderful story that will capture the imagination of young adults. --Dolores M. Steinhauer, Thomas Jefferson Sci-Tech, Fairfax County, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804111232
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/2/1994
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 438
  • Product dimensions: 4.17 (w) x 6.88 (h) x 1.05 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2000

    Truly Mesmorizing!

    Im only 14- and I hardly like to read but this book just entrapped me with the lives of 4 women... strong in spirit and independent of heart! This is truly a must read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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