post written by Emma Filbrun
Author: Chautona Havig
Major Themes: Farming, Community, Romance
Synopsis: A serial novel released over the course of a year or more, following the attempt of a retired man to build a community where people can live intentionally.
I’ve really been enjoying Chautona Havig’s serial novels. HearthLand is her third. She writes several chapters at a time and releases them every week or so. HearthLand ended up with five chapters per episode, for a total of 36 episodes. This makes rather an awkward story to read on Kindle, because you have to switch episodes so often, but she has compiled the episodes into volumes to make it easier. I was thrilled this week to get to read the final episode and wrap up the lives of the characters in a satisfying conclusion.
Ralph Myner is the main character of the HearthLand series, although there are about four other stories happening simultaneously (somewhat reminiscent of War and Peace, although much more readable!). He visited Willow, at Walden Farm (see Past Forward) and fell in love with her simple, intentional life. He had been searching for a way to invest his retirement fund, and decided he wanted to create a community where people could live much the way Willow did, working together to help each other. The first hurdle to be crossed was to find a large tract of bare land on which to build his community . . . would he ever be able to buy the piece he fell in love with, whose owner did not want to sell? Then, would he be able to attract any investors in such a new and different idea? Or would he lose his entire retirement fun? His nephew Harlan is quite concerned.
As the story progresses, more and more people come on the scene, and, as happens in real life, more and more relationships are formed. As I told my daughter when she asked about the story, there is a mystery and about four or five romances going on simultaneously by the time you get about halfway through the story. Danger, sabotage, love, babies—as well as cows and greenhouses keep your attention. I really appreciated the way Chautona showed the consequences of ilicit “love”—she rightly called it lust. The joy a baby brings into a home and community is clearly shown, as well.
I highly recommend the HearthLand story for people who enjoy a light read about things that could happen in real life.
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults
Links to buy HearthLand:
This review was written for the entire set of books. You can buy the individual books here:
HearthLands, Volume 1—
HearthLands, Volume 2—
HearthLands, Volume 3—
HearthLands, Volume 4—
HearthLands, Volume 5—
HearthLands, Volume 6—
Keywords: Community, Farming, Romance