Broken Ground

Written by Karen Halvorsen Schreck
Review by Hilary Daninhirsch

When a dream is shattered, sometimes the only thing left to do is to create a new reality, no matter what obstacles are standing in your way.

Childhood sweethearts Ruth and Charlie are newlyweds during the Depression. They live a hardscrabble life in the Dust Bowl of Oklahoma, with barely two pennies to rub together, but their love sustains them through the hard times. Then the unthinkable happens – Charlie dies in an oil rig accident, forcing Ruth to move back in with her long-suffering mother and her ill-natured father. When Ruth wins a scholarship to college, she takes a chance and goes out to California to pursue her desire to become a teacher.

But fate gets in the way again, and an unfortunate incident forces Ruth to leave school and take up residence with family friends. While her broken heart is healing, Ruth becomes immersed in the plight of the Mexican migrant workers living and working in a camp, and she begins to open herself up to the possibility of a new relationship.

Ruth is an unlikely heroine and trailblazer, setting her sights on goals which, for many women in that time period, were unattainable. The reader accompanies Ruth on her journey of healing and self-discovery, and it is a satisfying and stirring one. The evocative story proceeds fluidly, in the strong and delightful voice that is Ruth’s. The stark landscape of Oklahoma, the emotional tugs of the heart, and the rewarding outcomes all meld together to form a compelling novel.