As The Earth Turns is a homely novel: a picture of a year in the life of a Maine farm family in the early years of the Great Depression.
The Shaws are a next-century version of the Ingalls and Wilder families profiled in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books: solid, hardworking, reliable.
Mark Shaw has farmed all his life; he doesn’t know or care to know any other place. His daughter Jen and three of his boys have a heart for farming. The others seek excitement off the land.
Since before her mother’s death ten years before Jen has run the house. She neither asks nor receives significant aid or interference from her father’s second wife.
Jen’s life is cooking, cleaning, and caring for others. She wants nothing else. She copes with life’s crises—a croupy baby or fatal accident—and the attentions of the handsome Polish immigrant farmer with equal calm.
Gladys Hasty Carroll relates the story with the dispassion of a visitor reading the family record scribbled on the calendar by the back door.
The Shaws would be great neighbors, but they aren’t particularly entertaining ones.
And reading about someone else doing housework is even less exciting than doing one’s own.As the Earth Turns by Gladys Hasty Carroll MacMillan, 1933 339 pages 1933 bestseller #2