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ARC Review: The Divorce Colony

The Divorce Colony: How Women Revolutionized Marriage and Found Freedom on the American Frontier by April White April White’s The Divorce Colony is set during the Gilded Age, in the America of the late 1800s. It revolves around the lax divorce rules then to be found in South Dakota.  Today, getting divorced is almost easier than getting married. But in the Gilded Age, divorces were not so easy to obtain. Divorce was viewed as a moral concern for the state, and was denounced from the pulpit for threatening the sanctity of marriage. Even President Theodore Roosevelt spoke out against it.  Laws around divorce tended to be most lax on the frontiers of the United States. By the 1880s the territory of Dakota gained the dubious honor of posting the largest rise in divorces in the country. At the turn of the century one city - Sioux Falls, South Dakota - gained a reputation for having the laxest divorce laws of all, and required only a three month residency in order to take advantage of them

Review: The Stars Beneath Our Feet

The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a book I likely never would have read if it hadn't been a Pride Month recommendation on the Libby app. I read the description and it seemed like it might be interesting, and when I saw that it was on hold I became intrigued about what other people saw in this book that it would be on hold from the library three years after it had been released.

I'm glad I read this book. At the start of the book Lolly Rockpaul has lost his older brother to gang violence. The story is one of both growing up and dealing with the loss of someone close to you. The characters are believable and the writing is excellent. Key characters include Lolly's after school mate and special needs student Rose and his best friend Vega.

Nile Bullock does the narration of the audiobook and did a fantastic job.

While this is a novel marketed to young adults I think the story would appeal to any age. As for the Pride Month recommendation, that comes about because Lolly's mother is in a relationship with another woman, and the girlfriend plays a pivotal role in setting the stage for Lolly's success in dealing with his brother's loss. There are other gay characters in the novel as well. All are dealt with matter of factly as seen through Lolly's eyes.

There are all kinds of things going on in this book, and I've seen criticism in other Goodreads reviews that the plot bounces around too much, or that the characters with differences are not treated positively in all cases. I did not see it that way at all. The side plots and smaller stories enriched the overall understanding of the main character and his journey, while the multitude of characters seen throughout the book are seen through the eyes of a twelve year old and added to the realism of the story. I will grant you that some of the plot points are dealt with more superficially than I liked, particularly the story about Vega and the gun. Overall though I really enjoyed this story and would recommend it to others.