Thursday, October 16, 2008

Takin' a Road Trip

Road trip. Everyone should take one on occassion, don't you think?

I took one a few weeks ago with 3 gals. We went to a quaint, little town in the Flint Hills. A town that has special appeal to me. It feels like home.

Because it is my home. I grew up there.

This trip had a purpose other than just sharing my hometown with my girlfriends. The region of the Flint Hills that I grew up in is the setting of a book that these gals and I read. We're in a book club together. We read The Virgin of Small Plains by Nancy Pickard.

This book was suggested to me about a year ago by my sister-in-law, Nancy and her daughter, Marcy. They had both read it and highly recommended it, not only because of its setting but also because of the story line. I took their advice, as it's usually quite good, and purchased that book. Once I started it, I couldn't put it down. It's a very quick read and it pulled me in immediately.

I suggested it to my book club as a possible selection as we typically try to read one book each year by a regional author. The author, lived in Prairie Village, Kansas when she wrote the book and she and her (then) husband owned a ranch in the Flint Hills.

Now, about the book. It's a mystery. The chapters switch back and forth between the present and the past but I didn't find it difficult to follow.

The setting is a fictional town located between Manhattan and Council Grove, Kansas on Highway 177. The body of a young girl is discovered by the Sheriff and his sons (Rex & Patrick) during a snow storm in 1987. They take her to the home of the local doctor and here is where the mystery begins. The doctor and the sheriff both recognize the young girl and in the best interest of those they think may be responsible for her death, beat her face beyond recognition. Unbeknownst to them, Mitch is hiding in a closet in the doctor's office. The next day Mitch is sent away by his parents; his father happens to be the local judge.

This turns the lives of three teenagers - Abby, Rex & Mitch - and their families upside down. Abby & Mitch are teenagers in love and Rex is Mitch's best friend and also a very close friend of Abby's.

Fast forward to 2004. Rex is now Sheriff and Abby runs a local greenhouse and landscaping service. During a snow storm, Rex and Abby find another victim -- Mitch's mother -- in the cemetary near the headstone that marks the burial spot of the young girl found in the 1987 snow storm.

Now that the weather has turned cooler, we'll have days that are perfect for curling up on the couch with a good book. Here's one to try. What are you reading?

And, if you'd like to see some photos from our road trip, you can check them out here and here at Rechelle's blogs.

All photos courtesy of The Country Doctor's Wife.


Anonymous said...

I might just have to add this to my books I want to read list!

Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith said...

I found the book a fascinating read, as well!

Positive mention of the Flint Hills always gets my attention! Thanks!
So happy it brought me to your site. Hope you and your readers visit regularly.

Our 22 county Flint Hills Tourism Coalition, Inc. promotes visits to the Kansas Flint Hills – the website is:

Best wishes!
Dr. Bill ;-)
Personal Blog:

Kate said...

Nancy, the home you grew up in absolutely stunning!

I am going to put that book on hold at my library right now. It sounds wonderful.