FICTION

The Practice House

Little A: Amazon: Apr. 2017. 492p. ISBN 9781477817902. $24.95; pap. ISBN 9781503937253. $14.95. F
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In the early 1930s, Aldine McKenna leaves her native Scotland in search of a more fulfilling life. After first traveling to New York, on a whim, Aldine accepts a position as a country schoolteacher in a place she's never heard of. She finds herself in dust-bowl Kansas, employed by a district that cannot afford to pay her, and living as an uncomfortable guest in the home of a local farm family. For her hosts, Ansel and Ellie Price and their children, Aldine is a compelling and divisive presence, the object of both admiration and resentment. As farms fail and the community disintegrates around them, Aldine and the Prices develop relationships that will influence the rest of their lives.
VERDICT With her first foray into adult fiction, McNeal (The Incident on the Bridge; Dark Water) delivers a sensitive, deceptively simple story of love, family, and finding your place, notable for its rapid, revealing characterizations and near-perfect historical tone.

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