The Lucinda “Lucy” Richards trilogy, spanning the years from 1911 to the 1930s, has everything good books should have: a variety of landscapes, characters of all ages and social classes, an overall tenderness that never lapses into sentimentality, and a sense of the comic amidst the tragic. Lucy is feisty, funny, and completely open-armed about life. Josh passionately confronts danger and greed and prejudice with courage and humor and, sometimes, with bare fists. Even the minor characters are so rife with color that you first turn the pages quickly to see what they will do next and, then, you turn them slowly so as to savor each page of this remarkable trilogy.
The year is 1931 and Lucy Richards Arnold—now a mother of a precocious four-year-old son—is in rural West Texas, teaching in the school where her husband, Josh, is principal and struggling to make a success of their farm during the bleak, hard times of the Great Depression. Out of this barren landscape, rich and colorful characters emerge as if from a fertile land. Before the year’s end, Lucy is faced with a loss of such magnitude that she must struggle to find a way to recapture the joy in her very existence.