The Longest Road
June 19, 1993
About the Author
Famous for her historical romance novels, Jeanne Williams is winner of the Levi-Strauss Golden Saddleman Award for lifetime achievement in western literature and former president of the Western Writers of America. The author derived inspiration and material for The Cave Dreamers from personal transcendental experience, travel in the European Basque Country, and research in the Basque emigrant settlements of Nevada. Williams resides in Portal, Arizona.
About this Book
Four-time Golden Spur award winner Williams (The Island Harp) fills her Depression-era saga with gritty details and keen social observations. Laurie, 11, and her younger brother, Buddy, are left with their much-despised grandfather in Oklahoma after a dust storm kills their mother and decimates their family farm, inspiring their father to seek work in California. Determined to join him, the children hop a freight train, with Laurie posing as a boy. A series of chance encounters shapes their future. An unlikely tramp inspires Laurie with his music and gives her a harmonica; another hobo with surprising talents becomes the children's protector. And a sinister entrepreneur emerges as their nemesis. A procession of bleak shantytowns, rapacious employers and impoverished families mirrors the nation's tragedy. Eventually, the advent of WW II and oil strikes in Texas put a different twist on Laurie and Buddy's adventures, but at this point multiple subplots (battle dramas, romantic interludes) begin to spin out of control.