I think I have a winner! A closer look at my shelves netted me a copy of Edna Ferber's Pulitzer Prize wining novel, So Big. I've always meant to read her and I can't tell you how long I've had this book on my shelves. I think the stars have aligned in just the right way, don't you think?
Here's a little teaser to give you a taste of her writing and what I'm in store for story-wise. This is a description of Selina, of whose "travails" the novel follows:
"She read absorbedly books found in boarding-house parlours, in hotels, in such public libraries as the times afforded. She was alone for hours a day, daily. Frequently her father, fearful of loneliness for her, brought her an armful of books and she had an orgy, dipping and swooping about among them in a sort of gourmand's ecstasy of indecision. In this way, at fifteen, she knew the writings of Byron, Jane Austen, Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, Felicia Hemans. Not to speak of Mrs. E.D.E.N. Southworth, Bertha M. Clay, and that good fairy of the scullery, the Fireside Companion, in whose pages factory girls and dukes were brought together as inevitably as steak and onions. These last were, of course, the result of Selina's mode of living, and were loaned to her by kind-hearted landladies, chambermaids, and waitresses all the way from California to New York."
Motherless and with a father fond of gambling that is how Selina is raised--on the road. I do like her upon our first meeting. I especially understand that ecstasy of indecision. Oh, how I suffer from it, too.
All in all, a very promising start I will say.