Monday, September 7, 2009

THE TALL WOMAN by Wilma Dykeman

by Wilma Dykeman
Holt, Rinehart and Winston
10801 N. MoPac Expressway, Austin, TX 78759
ISBN: 0030309654

Lydia Moore grew up in the Appalachian region before the Civil War and married Mark McQueen shortly after it began. Her husband went off to fight for the Union while her father and brother fought for the Confederates. While the men were gone, outliers raided Lydia’s mother’s home, assaulting her and stealing the livestock. A pregnant Lydia returned to her old home place to tend to her mother and brothers and sisters. When her labor began, the doctor was too inebriated to come, so Lydia’s Aunt Tildy delivered the baby, who was turned the wrong way, causing brain damage. After the war, when Mark returned, Lydia learned he had been imprisoned. Her Mark was a changed man who dealt with demons from the war and harbored a deep hatred for the men who had raided Lydia’s mother’s home, blaming his son’s mental problems on them. Through the years, Lydia had more children while dealing with her husband’s alienation and cynicism, hoping that through her love, he would become the man he used to be. Times were rough in their mountain region, but Lydia worked hard, trying to do her best for her children and their small community.

Lydia McQueen is the epitome of a strong Southern woman. She never let challenges daunt her and plowed ahead, trying to do the right thing and persevere through. The Tall Woman tells one woman’s journey through life and the lives she touches as well as the changes she leaves behind.

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