Reviews

Ledoyt

Patty Osborne

I picked up Ledoyt by Carol Emshwiller (Mercury House) because it looked a lot like Annie (Polestar), a book I reviewed in Geist No. 19-2. Like Annie, Ledoyt takes place on the prairies in the early 19s and the hero is a girl, in this case a fourteen-year-old named Lotti. Ledoyt is the story of love between Beal Ledoyt, an irresponsible drifter, and "Mrs." Oriana Cochran, a disgraced woman from Boston who just happens to be Lotti's mother. The story unfolds slowly, as these two misfits find their way into each other's lives, get married, and settle down on Oriana's land. Lotti, then six years old, first fears Ledoyt, then adores him and wants to he just like him, and then feels betrayed by him when he marries her mother. Lucky for us, Lotti has started writing a journal even though she thinks "it's a girl kind of thing to do," and the narration of the story alternates with Lotti's journal entries. She writes about how it was when she was six years old and Ledoyt first came to work for her mother. And she gives us her version of how her "so-called mother" and this strange man "Old Him, Old Horseface, Old You-Know-Who, Old Snaggletooth," get together. Emshwiller gives us a picture of a harsh and beautiful life on a prairie homestead, while Lotti lets us accompany her on her own rocky path.

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