A Mother's Gift

A Mother's Gift
A Mother's Gift
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Young Abbie McKenzie and Will Deal grew up together in Blackhawk, Iowa, a small, crude farm town on the edge of the frontier, where Abbie teaches school and dreams of going to New York to study opera and cultivate her beautiful voice. She has her chance in Ed Matthews, the son of the wealthy local doctor, who offers to marry her and take her with him when he goes East to Medical School--never mind that she doesn’t love him, that can come later. But she breaks her engagement with Ed and instead marries Will, just back from the Civil War, the man she knows she really loves. She rides off to homestead in the empty Nebraska Prairie, feeling, she says, like “Ruth, in the alien corn, having followed a man instead of her dream.”

Together Abbie and Will struggle against the hardships of the wilderness, build a farm and family, and with the few neighbors who share their journey into the Great Plain, found the town of Buffalo Wallow, Nebraska. Will wants a farm that stretches as far as the eye can see to leave to his son John. Abbie teaches her daughter Isobelle to play the piano and to sing, hoping Isobelle will choose the dream that Abbie walked away from.

But young John, as time goes by, shows more interest in the local bank that has sprung up, and disappoints his father by choosing it as a career. Isobelle indulges her mother and travels to New York to see the Julliard School, but hurries right back to marry the boy she loves and be a farmer’s wife in Buffalo Wallow. Abbie and Will take solace in their love for each other, which has sustained them through all the difficult years and sustains them even now when a stubborn drought nearly costs them all they have worked for.

When Will dies suddenly, in his prime, and Abbie’s children encourage her to give up the farm for an easier life, she insists on staying put. “I buried my husband on this land. I want to lie beside him some far off day after I’ve seen my grandchildren grown.”

  • Nancy McKeon
  • Adrian Pasdar
  • Jeremy London
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