The Dawn of a Dream
In 1857, after only a month of marriage, 23-year-old Luellen O’Connell’s dreams of romance are shattered when she learns that her husband is a bigamist. Refusing to bow to the pressure to return to her parents’ home in Beldon Grove, Illinois, she moves two hundred miles away to attend the Allenwood Normal School and become a teacher. Both gutsy and stubborn, Luellen pushes toward her goal while isolating herself from those who love her most, even when she learns she is to have a child. When finally forced to choose between her family and her career, the decision Luellen makes opens her heart to love once more.
I grew up hearing stories about “normal school,” “model school,” and the rules that prevented married women from teaching, but did not really understand the historical process of teacher education until reading this book. One of Shorey’s particular talents is her ability to create characters who resist behaving as one would typically expect. Although Luellen learns and grows, like most of us in the real world she retains the same delightfully flawed personality right to the end. Dawn of a Dream is an enjoyable addition to Shorey’s Beldon Grove series.