A quarter of the way into Crossing the Tracks by Barbara Stuber, I really wanted to like it because it's so beautifully written and is local to me, but wasn't sure I'd be able to make myself care enough for the character and her issues, which seemed a little too removed from what I can relate to and bordering on the softly mundane.
I've got a literary crush on Daniel Woodrell, who's the author of Winter's Bone and once lived right here in Johnson County, Kansas, before settling back down in his ancestral home in the Missouri Ozarks near the Arkansas border.
Despite the Colley family remaining neutral during the Civil War, the Missouri Union Militia sets fire to their home, leaving young Adair with only her two sisters. Together the three set out to navigate war-torn Missouri – an environment so inhospitable it makes Armageddon seem manageable. Adair is brave and intelligent, but the threats that surround her create an unbeatable monster. Once separated from her sisters, she’s sent to prison in St. Louis on charges of treason.
The Moonflower Vine by Jetta Carleton
I chose to read this book after seeing the KC Star review last fall. Jane Smiley includes it in her “Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel”. The setting in rural Missouri had appeal since I grew up in rural Missouri and the time setting would make the four daughters in the story living at the same time as my mother’s generation, including the author. I thought it would give me insight into her life experience and was just interested in how their lives would be portrayed.
I recently read The Blood Ballad, the 11th book in the Torie O'Shea mystery series by Rett MacPherson. While this series is made up of cozy mysteries that are very easy, mild reads (the exact opposite of my favorite Harry Bosch series by Michael Connelly), I've chosen to read them because they combine three of my special interests: mysteries and genealogy and Missouri. Torie O'Shea lives in a fictitious small town just south of St. Louis. She is the resident genealogist, historian, tour guide of historic buildings, snoop, plus a harried wife and mother.