A Long Way from Iowa: From the Heartland to the Heart of France by Hulstrand, Janet

A Long Way from Iowa: From the Heartland to the Heart of France

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This story, about three generations of women with a passion for reading, writing, and travel, begins in 1992, in an unfinished attic in Brooklyn, as a young writer reads journals written by her grandmother as a schoolgirl nearly 100 years earlier. This sets her on a 30-year quest to uncover the hidden lives and unfulfilled dreams of her mother and grandmother. In this coming-of-middle-age memoir, the author comes to realize that the passion for travel and for literature that has fueled her life's journey is a gift that was passed down to her by the very role models she was determined to escape.

This is a story of the life-changing journey of the author as she comes to terms with the complicated relationships she had with her mother and grandmother; about her travels in the US and France; and the emotional journey she takes as she recovers from the breakup of her marriage. It is also about the journeys--geographic, intellectual, and emotional--of her mother and grandmother.

It is also a story about the tenacity and strength of even difficult family relationships; and about the role of luck, both good and bad, in shaping human lives. It is about the importance of dreams, whether or not they are entirely fulfilled. And it is about the importance of persistence in making dreams come true, as well as the kind of wisdom that allows one to quietly enjoy one's life, accepting its limitations while pushing its boundaries.

"Janet Hulstrand looks back on her life growing up in a Midwestern family, and the road she took to go beyond it to places that are indeed a long way from Iowa, skillfully weaving the threads of her own life with those of her mother's and grandmother's...This is the story of three strong women and the personal challenges they faced...A wonderful accomplishment, and storytelling at its best." Harriet Welty Rochefort, author of French Toast, French Fried, Joie de Vivre, and Final Transgression

"A lovely, lyrical memoir that tells the story of the author's winding path from a childhood in Minnesota to her adventures as an adult in New York, Washington, Paris, and beyond.... Janet Hulstrand is an engaging and empathetic storyteller, and her memoir is a testament to the writing life, and to all the hardship and reward that it entails." Susan Coll, author of Bookish People and five other novels

"Janet Hulstrand's charming memoir will cheer every reader who has dreamed of changing her life, living in Europe, becoming a writer, or just plain having a more lively time than a Midwestern girl usually expects." Diane Johnson, best-selling author of Le Divorce, Lorna Mott Comes Home, and Flyover Lives: A Memoir.

"Janet Hulstrand is an adventurer with a passion for travel, and a writer with a gift to teach. Her honest memoir of moving to a village in France will inspire others to think of change as life-enhancing, and courage as a habit we can learn." Elaine Showalter, Professor Emerita of English, Princeton University

"Libraries need this book! This is an all-American story about three generations of Midwestern women with a passion for reading, writing, and travel, and how that passion was passed down from mother to daughter...Descriptions of life in small-town Iowa in the early part of the 20th century are provided through local newspaper accounts; and travels by train and bus come alive through the letters and journals of the author's grandmother and mother. " Ginnie Cooper, former director of public libraries in Multnomah County, Oregon; Brooklyn, NY; and the District of Columbia.

"Janet Hulstrand takes us on a fascinating journey, backward in time as she seeks to uncover the hidden lives of her grandmother and mother, then forward as she forges her own adventurous path out of the Midwest and into a little village in the French countryside...A fun and heartwarming read." Adrian Leeds, from HGTV's House Hunters International

Author: Janet Hulstrand
Publisher: Winged Words Publishing
Published: 03/10/2023
Pages: 286
Binding Type: Paperback
Weight: 1.05lbs
Size: 8.90h x 5.90w x 0.80d
ISBN: 9781667879185

About the Author
Janet Hulstrand is a writer, editor, writing coach, and teacher who grew up in Minnesota, and has lived in New York City, Washington DC, and France. She teaches literature classes for Politics and Prose bookstore, and she created and has taught "Paris: A Literary Adventure," a study abroad program for the City University of New York, since 1997. She writes frequently for Bonjour Paris, France Today, France Revisited, and for her blog, Writing from the Heart, Reading for the Road. She is the author of Demystifying the French: How to Love Them, and Make Them Love You, and coauthor of Moving On: A Practical Guide to Downsizing the Family Home. She divides her time between the US and the village of Essoyes, in the Champagne region of France.

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