Warner, Feb 2001, 6.99, 336 pp.
In 1949 Clear Lake, Iowa, teenager Nelda Hansen married Lute Hanson. However, a minute after they exchanged “I do's” her father, who forced the marriage, informs the groom that he will receive the divorce papers as soon as the lawyer finishes them. The marine captain still cannot believe his daughter shacked up with a hayseed bumpkin like Lute and is now four months pregnant. Not listening to anyone, the military officer takes his daughter in hand and leaves for Des Moines. A little less than a year later, Nelda's six-month old child dies. Neither she nor her father attended the funeral.
Eight more years pass before Nelda returns home to the family farm. She still loves Lute as she immediately realizes when she sees him for the first time since her father took charge of their marriage and divorce. To his chagrin, Lute never forgot Nelda. However, both share misconceptions about the other from the incident that destroyed their future together.
MORE THAN A MEMORY is an enjoyable historical relationship drama that makes the lifestyle of the 1950's heartland seem very much alive. Younger readers will be shocked by the marine's actions, but single and pregnant was a fate worse than death back then. The lead couple is a warm pair who deserves a second chance. However, the meat of Dorothy Garlock's tale is the era as she portrays a radically different set of values (than today) wrapped inside a wonderful romance.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner