By Victoria Brenna
Francis Nelson was too young to die.
His strong-willed daughter, Claudia, dealing with her grief and uncertain of the role she must assume, knew that she alone could save her farm and carve out a future for herself. While their life had never been easy, times were unusually hard in May 1932 in Turtle Lake, Wisconsin. The Depression was causing the value of everything to plummet—banks were closing and interest rates on loans were skyrocketing. Hot and unpredictable weather caused by the Dust Bowl was affecting their small township as well as the rest of the country. But in this harsh and desperate environment, an unlikely love opens a world of music that gives Claudia release and a new perspective on her closed community. Her image of herself and the two men in her life is threatened when she discovers secrets about her father and the man who is the antithesis of him. Can the guarded Claudia learn to lean on others or will she fall alone?
“A deeply felt and richly drawn novel about love, mourning, commitment, and community in a time of great challenge. Aria for a Farm: Lean Together or Fall Alone snares its reader on the first page and never lets go. A wonderful first novel from a new and authentic Midwestern writer.”—Nickolas Butler, author of Shotgun Love Songs and Little Faith
“A farm story, a complicated love story, some skullduggery, and a history lesson about the Great Depression all wrapped together in this page-turning novel.”—Jerry Apps, author of Settler’s Valley: A Novel.
“An engaging story of the complexity of family ties and commitment to community that imparts a rich sense of place with the authenticity of a deeply felt memoir. While set in rural Wisconsin during the Great Depression, the theme of finding—or reinventing—one’s place in the world remains timeless and universal.”—Sara DeLuca, author of Dancing the Cows Home: A Wisconsin Girlhood and The Crops Look Good: News from a Midwestern Family Farm