When her mother dies in childbirth, Louisa at seventeen is thrust into adulthood. She is suddenly responsible for running the farm household and caring for two younger siblings. Isolated in a late 1890’s Mennonite community with strict religious doctrine and expectations, she yearns to explore the “outside” world. She falls in love and marries Thomas, who is not of the Faith, and is shunned by the entire community. They journey to California to start a new life farming melons, but Thomas dies and the farm fails.
A widow without means, Louisa is still determined to make a life for herself and her children in the West. Eventually she makes her way to Golden, Colorado, where she opens a bakery and tearoom and learns to survive in a man’s world. She finds women friends, becomes a suffragist, and is confronted with social issues of the time. Rediscovering love with her longtime financier friend, she is poised to accept his marriage proposal when she learns the fate of her mongoloid baby sister. Louisa’s choices set in motion a transformation she never expected.
Falling Forward, A Woman’s Journey West is available in paperback at Amazon. Watch for the eBook version coming soon.
Pat Jurgens is a writer and retired librarian who has published more than fifty articles in local and regional magazines. She has won awards from the Denver Women’s Press Club, the Poetry Society of Colorado, and the Jefferson County Historical Commission. She loves living in an old mountain cabin in Evergreen, Colorado, with her husband Carl and rescue dog Zoe. Falling Forward, a Woman’s Journey West is her first novel. Visit her at: https://patjurgens.com