Aisle L. Always a joy. Two years have passed. People browsed, flirted, exchanged glances. Plans made, advances ignored. There is always love in Aisle L of our local library. Requited, engaged, spurned, savored.
Since my last visit Jeffery Lent has published another book. Mr Lent is a time traveler. He closes his eyes, fiddles with levers and dials in his imagination, arrives at his destination and time, then opens his senses to new surroundings. And writes. Beautifully. We see, smell, and hear small town America a century ago. Before automobiles, electricity, or telephone.
The Lenten tornado of imagination plucks me from my routine and drops me within his world. Late 1860s in rural New York. Small town courthouse. Country lanes. Hard farm work. Simple murder, anything but simple. You are not reading. You’re an observer, tagging along, wondering what will happen over yonder hill?
EIGHTEEN Hundred & Thirty Eight was the date. The location, somewhere between New Hampshire and Canada. A very sparsely occupied area with the roughest of living. The inhabitants prefered to be left alone. Both countries thought it their territory.
A man pushes his wagon deep into the wilderness, looking for a place to set up trade. Far from the law, far from questions about his past. The wagon’s load? Two barrels of Jamaica rum, powder, lead, fabric, small housewares, a woman.
Mr. Lent captures the dirt, grease, and hardship as a first hand observer. The depth of his observations will transport the reader back to a time before electricity, automobiles, telephones. You will not notice they are missing. You will live in this world not so long ago when survival depended on your work and your neighbor.
Jeffrey Lent was born in Vermont and grew up there and in western New York State, on dairy farms powered mainly by draft horses. He lived for many years in North Carolina, an enriching and formative experience. Lent currently resides with his wife and two daughters in central Vermont. – Grove Atlantic