Children of the Day

Written by Louise Lenahan Wallace
Review by B. J. Sedlock

The Michaels family lives in Union County, Ohio in 1870. It’s a blended family, Larissa having lost her first husband in the recent war, and Ethan’s wife Nettie to snakebite. Larissa’s son Mac is in Philadelphia studying medicine; her daughter Rose lost her hearing during a measles attack. Ethan’s daughter Charity secretly loves Mac, but when he returns from Philadelphia with his fiancée, Amity, Charity is devastated.

So when a letter arrives from a family friend telling of a need for teachers in Wyoming, Charity decides to apply for a post there, to escape the constant reminders of Mac and Amity’s happiness. Her former teacher, Miss Sullivan, agrees to accompany her on the long train journey, to help her settle into her first teaching assignment. Will Charity be able to handle rebellious students, frontier living, and a resentful rival, while overcoming her longing for Mac?

This is a sequel to Day Unto Day, with references to past events, yet the story can stand alone. I cared about the characters, though there are a lot to keep track of; a list would have been helpful. There are parts which are a bit slow-moving: it takes from page 130 to 204 for Charity to board the train, arrive in Wyoming, and teach her first class. Yet slow isn’t necessarily bad. Interesting descriptions of the Wyoming landscape or a rural country store’s interior might have been cut from a faster-paced story. But then there is one passage at the end that needed more exposition than it got: the change of heart in one character was rather abrupt.

Final verdict: I liked the novel, and would recommend it to readers who like to savor character and descriptions over quick action.