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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: Ghostways: Two Journeys in Unquiet Places

Ghostways: Two Journeys in Unquiet Places
by Robert Macfarlane

I loved this book. Ghostways is made up of two pieces, each evocative of a specific place, and both beautifully written. Both were previously available in the UK, and now newly available in the US.

The first piece "Ness", is a prose poem on a visit to Orford Ness, a spit of pebbled land adjacent to the Suffolk coast of England, used for many years as a military testing grounds.

The second, "Holloway" is a story about two visits to a path in Dorset (along England's south coast), a path (or "way"), well used for centuries and so sunk deep into the soft rock of the area to form what today is more like a tunnel, overgrown with bramble and almost hidden from view - a "holloway". On his first visit MacFarlane is accompanied by a friend who has died by the time of the second visit, and so the story can be seen as a journey into the memory of friendship.

The illustrations by Stanley Donwood fit the mood and the narrative of the first piece completely, and compliment the second.

MacFarlane has been called Britain's foremost living nature writer. In this short book, as in his book The Old Ways which I read last year, paths through nature bring understanding of both our humanness and of the natural world.

I rate this book 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ - this book is fantastic - I think anyone looking to reconnect with nature from a pandemic (or winter) seclusion will enjoy Ghostways.

Ghostways  links

Borrow it: Find out if your library has the ebook or audiobook available
Buy it New:  Buy this book new on AmazonBarnes & Noble or  Books-A-Million 
Buy it Used: Buy this book used on AbeBooksPowells or ThriftBooks 
Support Indie Bookstores:  Buy this book directly from Bookshop.org or find an Independent Bookstore near you.