Book Guide

January 1948 began a wonderful year for the Lechows. With Father newly returned to Western Germany from a Russian prison camp, they were together again and could enjoy a measure of security and happiness in The Ark, their railroad-car home on Rowan Farm.

It was a year that held for sixteen-year-old Margret, in particular, both joy and sorrow. She found real satisfaction in entering Mrs. Almut's Great Danes in two important shows and in raising several young animals which were her very own. She felt a vague unhappiness, however, when Mrs. Almut's son, Bernd, as well as her own teacher Matthias, succumbed to the charms of an attractive, but superficial girl from Frankfurt. But Margret had little time to brood. There was the much-abused Shetland pony whose life she was determined to save.  There was, too, the problem of Andrea, her younger sister, whose flair for the dramatic landed her in serious difficulties at school.  And Joey and Ull, the enterprising eight-year-olds, kept Margret in a constant state of uncertainty with their magnificent ventures.  The year brought Margret new friends as well—among them the resourceful young school master with his plan for rebuilding a bombed-out farm, and the American woman, working in Germany with the Friends' Service Committee.  

As in The Ark, her previous book about the Lechow family, Mrs. Benary mirrors the slow changes of the seasons, come war or peace, the burgeoning of life in the spring and with it a renewal of man's hopes.  Once again she creates real people whose joys and disappointments are universally understood, and above all she leaves with her readers a sense of courage and of faith all too rare in books today.

From the dust jacket

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Margot Benary-Isbert

Margot Benary-Isbert

(Pronounced ben ARE ee rhymes with Ferrari)
1889 - 1979
German-American
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Rowan Farm Reprint

Rowan Farm
Reprinted in 2020 by Purple House Press
Available formats: Hardcover, Paperback
View on the Purple House Press site

This edition was "slightly revised" by the publisher. To learn more, visit the FAQ page.


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Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

Rowan Farm
This has such a quality of warm, authentic writing that one recalls its predecessor, The Ark (1953- p. 41) with considerable...

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Plumfield and Paideia

Rowan Farm
Reviewed by Sara Masarik
Just like the first book, this one too reminds me of James Herrriot, Gene Stratton-Porter, and Hilda van Stockum. As the people of West Germany are beginning to be less hungry and a little more comfortable, we see people finding a way to really live and not just survive. Musicians are wanted again, dances are happening in barns, Protestants and Catholics are working together to rebuild their communities, American charities are sending aid, and young people are falling in love. But, this is still post-war Germany, and the challenges are still immense. Refugees from Russian-occupied East Germany are pouring into West Germany, veterans are scarred and wounded in mind and body, food and materials continue to be scarce, and a huge volume of war-made orphans are struggling to survive. We do have one caution/warning and beg you to read the full review before handing this book to a child.

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