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Extended Audio Sample The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton, by Jane Smiley Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jane Smiley Narrator: Anna Fields Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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An immensely appealing heroine, a historical setting conveyed with impressive fidelity, and a charming and poignant love story make Jane Smiley’s new novel a sure candidate for bestseller longevity.

Lidie Harkness, a spinster at age twenty, is an anomaly in 1850s Illinois. She has an independent mind, a sharp tongue and a backbone; she prefers to swim, shoot, ride, and fish rather than spend a minute over the stove or with a darning needle. That makes her the perfect bride for Bostonian abolitionist Thomas Newton, who courts and marries her in a few days while en route to Lawrence, K.T. (Kansas Territory), with a box of Sharps rifles. As the newlyweds gingerly come to know each other, they are plunged into the turmoil between pro-slavery border ruffians from Missouri and K.T. Free Staters, an increasingly savage conflict that presages the Civil War.

As Lidie and Thomas experience privation, danger, and the growing pleasures of emotional intimacy, and as tragedy strikes and Lidie pursues a perilous revenge, Smiley explores the complex moral issues of the time, paying acute attention to inbred attitudes on both sides of the slavery question. Propelled by Lidie’s spirited voice, this narrative is packed with drama, irony, historical incident, moral ambiguities, and the perception of human frailty.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A fine historical novel that describes a fascinating time and place…It is both funny and subtle, rich in ideas…Smiley has created a better all-around piece of fiction than any of her previous work, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning A Thousand Acres.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Rousing…Action-packed…A gripping story about love, fortitude, and convictions that are worth fighting for.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Powerful…Smiley takes us back to Kansas in 1855, a place of rising passions and vast uncertainties. Narrated in the spirited, unsentimental voice of twenty-year-old Lidie Newton, the novel is at once an ambitious examination of a turning point in history and the riveting story of one woman’s journey into uncharted regions of place and self.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • A 1998 New York Times Notable Book for Fiction
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