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The Able McLaughlins

Margaret Wilson

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The McLaughlins are prominent members of a settlement of Scottish immigrants who emigrated to the still-wild prairies of Iowa. As the story begins, their eldest son, Wully, returns to the family farm after serving in the Union Army during the Civil War. But much has changed in his absence: the girl who once returned his love, Chirstie, now appears cold, fearful, and traumatized, and won’t meet his eye. Wully seeks to discover what happened to her during his absence, and what he can do to set things right, without having Chirstie lose her standing in their tight-knit and very religious Presbyterian community.

Margaret Wilson grew up on a farm in the small town of Traer, and her understanding of the land and its people infuses this, her first novel. The Able McLaughlins won the Harper Novel Prize on publication and then the Pulitzer Prize in 1924.

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