Never Done

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Jul 2017

Member Reviews

What an unusual book. I didn't know quite what to make of it. The descriptions of a life so different from anything we know or can really comprehend. The relationships so alien to that in most of our experiences. I can't say I really enjoyed the read but it was interesting.
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This story is based on the author's Great-grandmother which really adds to the historical value of this novel. Clara and Geneva are cousins who have lived a well to do life Philadelphia in the 1880's when Clara's father decides to move the family to Colorado. As Clara 14, adjusts to a new way of life on the Colorado frontier her father decides to marry her cousin Geneva, a decision that turns Clara's life upside down. Angered and confused by her father's actions Clara decides to forge a life of her own by marrying her father's cattle foreman a decision that brings her the joy of independence she yearned for but ultimately causes her heartache because of her husband's penchant for drinking. Throughout the novel Clara faces many hardships of frontier living taking in ironing and cooking for a local hotel to make ends meet make all the while her prosperous father and Geneva live in lavish homes to the ire of Clara who has always stood on her own two feet and lived poorly but happily. This was fascinating to know that Clara actually existed and that the author paid homage to such a strong woman of character. Nicely written.

Thanks to author Ginger Dehlinger and NetGalley for this copy in exchange for my review.
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This book was just amazing! What I really loved about this book is that it's based on the diary of the author's great grandmother. You can't get any more authentic than that! What a real coming of age story. Once again I really feel like I am reading a historical account of an old time family, like maybe old time relatives that had passed on before I was born. Clara and Geneva are bored young teens with Clara at 14 and Geneva at 16. Clara looks up to and idolizes Geneva until Geneva marries her widowed papa. Having a mother in law just two years older than you makes for some very tough going times. Geneva settles into the good life with domestic help for her household and children,freshly piped water,the latest fashions and many conveniences. Clara marries at 16 also to a cowboy who doesn't give her much material wise but she is blessed with many children. Life is a constant struggle in her household and when one of her children passes away her husband can no longer take it and the marriage ends. What I didn't like is how Clara's papa brags about his wealth and how his young wife lives in luxury which was not the norm for this period in time in Colorado in the late 1800's. The animosity between Clara and Geneva make it impossible for their friendship rift to ever be healed. Clara does whatever she must do to support her children including moving from place to place and taking different jobs. At a hotel running job she meets and is courted by Jonas for over a year before they marry. Tragedy has been Clara's companion all her life and it follows her around but it does make her a stronger woman.Jonas and Clara have a child,Pearl who they dote on. In this book things go in cycles it seems things get better then worse and back again. What a mentally strong woman Clara was. She would do whatever it took to keep her family together and running smoothly.
Pub Date 21 Apr 2017 
Thank you to NetGalley and The Wild Rose Press, Inc for a review copy in exchange for my honest review.
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Clara, a girl growing up in the late 1800s  and this her story.

From the age of 14  to her womanhood this amazing story tells the harshness of her life, growing up and all her struggles.

I love Historical fiction and this is a satisfying read. It is easy to fall in with the descriptive and atmospheric wiing of the author.

I would recommend this as a book club read, as many of Clara's life story is relevant in todays women.
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I received a ARC via Netgalley. I had not heard of this author before, and was interested to learn that the genesis of this novel was a comment in the memoirs of her great grandmother. 

it took me a while to 'like' Clara, and her rival Geneva's character is a bit  underdone, so it's hard to get a sense of the competition between the two women. To my mind it is Clara's father's selfishness and insensitivity that propels the upsets in his daughter's life. However he does eventually set her up in business and this is the turning point for her family, and also when the novel really began to engage me.

I found the historical detail regarding women's life in that era  and in the rapidly developing 'west' fascinating. I recently read 'Empty Mansions' and I found parallels  between Albert's  ambitions and speculation and the career of W A Clark.  It really was a very different era.

I recommend Never Done, its worth persisting to see Clara emerge as a real character, the impact of the Spanish influenza epidemic was beautifully written.  As another reviewer noted, it's bit of a sudden ending.
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hat an amazing book. It just kind of jumped in so if you hadn't read the synopsis, it could be a bit confusing. It was an incredible story of Clara, a girl growing up in the late 1800s and everything she went through. From her father marrying her 16 year old cousin, illness and life as a cowboy's wife... this was an incredible story that left me wanting more. Seriously, the book ended and I was sad it was over, it ends rather abruptly but more than that, I really grew fond of Clara and was not ready to leave her.
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“Never Done” by Grace Dehlinger, a book about settling in Colorado during westward expansion.  Albert Willin brought his wife and daughters to the San Luis Valley to start a cattle ranch and has prospered well.  The family lives in a beautiful home on the prairie. After the death of his wife and sons, Albert marries his first cousin, sixteen-year-old Geneva, the best friend of his daughter, Clara.  The story centers on his daughter Clara, who at the beginning of the book is a spunky fourteen-year-old, becomes a young woman, married to a cow-puncher, and living in a shack, finds life harder than she ever imagined.  Following her husband Vincent from job to job and taking her children with them becomes a way of life for Clara.  The animosity between Geneva and Clara makes living in harmony impossible.

After Vincent takes to the bottle to drown his sorrows at not being able to provide for his family causes he and Clara to separate and eventually divorce.  Clara works hard and steadily at different jobs to provide for her children.   Along the way she meets Jonas and after a year’s courtship, they marry.  However, tragedy follows Clara throughout her life and she becomes a stronger woman for it.  

I enjoyed this book because I think it gave a perceptible view of what life in the west was like in those early years.  The work was back-breaking, the weather harsh, and the rewards few.  Very well written, this book kept my interest throughout.  I felt so much compassion and sorrow for Clara and her children, and I kept wanting things to get better.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from and was under no obligation to post a review.
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