Wisconsin History

One Came HomeOne Came Home by Amy Timberlake
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What an interesting book. I chose this one because it was an historical fiction set in Wisconsin. As I work with students in Wisconsin, I am always looking for books with local connections. This was set in 1871 in central Wisconsin near the Wisconsin River. The author chose to create a story around the annual nesting of passenger pigeons in the woods surrounding this central Wisconsin town. This was an annual migration that I had never heard of before. The author does discuss this in her note at the end and acknowledges that this is a very obscure historical event.
Putting aside this odd historical setting, I really enjoyed the characters and their storyline in this book. It reminded me of “True Grit”, “The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate”, and “The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie”. The heroine is spunky and pushes against society’s restrictions and carries on a delightful inner dialogue.
My only real disappointment with this book was that right at the very end the author chose to insert a reference to the hugely fatal, largely unknown, Peshtigo Fire on the same day as the infamous Chicago Fire. This is a big subject and I feel deserved a whole book to itself not just a passing glance. It muddied the ending as far as I was concerned.

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