Review Excerpts


Please note: Many of these review excerpts were taken from clippings in Erdman's scrapbooks. She subscribed to a commercial clipping service, and the page numbers were not included in the clippings she received and preserved. Also, she did not include page numbers when she cut out articles and pasted them in her scrapbooks. Therefore, complete citation information was not available for all review excerpts.

SEPARATE STAR (1944)

"A lively, well-written career story with good characterizations and a touch of romance. Girls of junior and senior high school age will enjoy it." The Chicago Tribune; Chicago, Illinois; April 23, 1944

"There is nothing 'juvenile' about it. The characters are vitally alive and human and the way in which Gail Warren meets her teaching problems in a small town school carries help for any teacher who has ever faced her task with high ambition and ended in discouragement."The Chicago Sun; Chicago, Illinois; June 4, 1944

"Miss Erdman, after getting off to a slow start, proves that she can write an interesting novel. In fact, such a story as hers might be used to advantage in a classroom in teaching the technique of the novel. Many students would probably be able to understand the initial incident, rising action, climax, and denouement more readily in Separate Star than in Silas Marner or some of the other old standbys. There are also some good characterizations, especially of some of the children, humor, pathos, local color, suspense, drama, and the necessary romance." Fort Worth Star-Telegram; Fort Worth, Texas; April 9, 1944

FAIR IS THE MORNING (1945)

"Here, with a good story, is an interesting premise. It is that rural school teachers should be specially trained for their work, not merely learn their profession by progressing from country schools to schools in cities.... The story makes very good reading.... All the characterizations are good." Saturday Review of Literature 28(45):64 (November 10, 1945)

"Loula Grace Erdman's new book Fair is the Morning tells a thrilling story of how a discouraged, apathetic, hopeless community was literally made over through the efforts of a courageous country schoolteacher who dared to defy custom and tradition for the sake of a group of fine girls and boys.... Miss Erdman tells of the remaking of Hickory Ridge with a warmth and a depth of sympathy rarely attained by those who write of rural schools." Texas Outlook; December, 1945

THE YEARS OF THE LOCUST (1946)

"Wholesome as the smell of home-made bread just out of the oven and warm as geraniums blooming in a kitchen window, the ninth winner of the Dodd, Mead-Redbook Prize Novel Award is an account of three days in the lives of a substantial family of Missouri farmers.... This is no novel for the super-sophisticated and cynical; it bears no trace of that curse of modern America, the fear of 'being a sucker' or 'sticking your neck out.' Here are the simple virtues, neighborliness, kindliness, domestic devotion, sturdy endurance." Saturday Review of Literature 30(38):30-31 (September 20, 1947)

"The old man and his wife, both dead when the book begins but seen through the reminiscences, are the best characters. The method of presenting the story will discourage some readers, but it is satisfactory as light fiction." Booklist 44(4):68 (October 15, 1947)

"Miss Erdman draws convincing pictures of all the women folk in the book. She has a knack of describing their foibles, their hopes and disillusionments and the workings of their minds with the accurateness of having lived all the experiences herself. It is another matter with the male characters. Miss Erdman is not quite so convincing in her character analysis of Old Dade's sons, grandsons and other male relatives." Amarillo Times; Amarillo, Texas; September 8, 1947

LONELY PASSAGE (1948)

"Lonely Passage, a pleasing story set in rural Missouri, is more than apt to be ranked well ahead of The Years of the Locust.... Lonely Passage is a down-to-earth, human story of ordinary folks in rural Missouri.... The story is a quiet one. No blood and thunder. No machine-gun action. It is more a story of the heart." Amarillo Sunday News-Globe; Amarillo, Texas; September 19, 1948

"A sensitive and searching study of a proud clan in a small Missouri town.... But Miss Erdman is in no real sense a 'regional' novelist. As the very title of her second novel shows, she is concerned with universal truths and, more precisely, with a certain lyric appreciation and understanding of life." Dallas Morning News; Dallas, Texas; September 19, 1948

THE EDGE OF TIME (1950)

"Primarily it is a story of women--the women who took the long wagon journey with their husbands into a country of stark newness; who faced the ever-present threat of droughts and blizzards and the terrible prairie grass fires; who planted rose bushes and bore children, and then saw to it that their children had good homes and schools and churches." Amarillo Daily News; Amarillo, Texas; June 11, 1950

"This excellent homesteading chronicle brings a young couple, Wade and Bethany Cameron, to the Texas Panhandle in the 1880s. The long wagon journey from Missouri, the dugout home, the few neighbors are as authentic as photographs in an album, and Miss Erdman views them with sympathy and pride. The slight plot is sustained. The style is keyed to the woman's viewpoint which dominates the story. A well-made old-fashioned novel, as good to own as one of Bethany's quilts." News; Dallas, Texas; December 10, 1950

"The Edge of Time brings an appealingly romantic story and with it insight into one of the kinds of pioneering that has gone to make the nation." The New York Herald-Tribune; New York, New York; October 29, 1950

THE WIND BLOWS FREE (1952)

"Here is a book, while intended for older girls, that should prove interesting to young people of either sex. It is another of those absorbing, well-written and easy-to-read stories by Loula Grace Erdman...." Advertiser; Montgomery, Alabama; October 19, 1952

"...an exceptionally fine story for older girls.... we feel the authenticity of the background and the material, and the story shows Loula Erdman's sympathy and understanding of the incredible hardships that the young women, especially, were faced with when they first settled in the Texas Panhandle." Argonaut; San Francisco, California; September 19, 1952

MY SKY IS BLUE (1953)

"A nice, refreshing story well told, with plenty of atmosphere and lots of suspense." Junior Reviewer; Newton Centre, Massachusetts; December, 1953

"It is that rare book for the teenager, a good story with suspense, romance and humor and not too goody-goody.... My Sky is Blue is a good wholesome but not insipid story for young readers." Savannah News; Savannah, Georgia; November 15, 1953

"The plotting... is far above average for intricacy, cohesiveness, and movement. Each character is a vital individual.... It is fine to have in a teenage romance a hero and heroine who are both young and intelligent, and who see their love as a serious and permanent thing of much happiness and just as much responsibility." Books on Trial; October, 1953

THREE AT THE WEDDING (1953)

"This romantic novel will move quickly off the shelves of circulating libraries and give the kind of satisfying return the reader looks for when she asks for a 'good story.' And she it will be, for this is a woman's tale to be enjoyed vicariously and to be examined with feminine delight in every romantic detail the author supplies so knowingly." The New York Times; New York, New York; January 31, 1954

"Three at the Wedding is a quietly and simply written novel, with so sure a grasp of both subject matter and organization that only in retrospect does one realize the very considerable technical achievement of its six chapters." New York Herald Tribune; New York, New York; December 6, 1953

"This book is outstanding because of Miss Erdman's understanding of human nature as revealed in the lives of these three very different types of women. Besides being a good story it will be helpful to those contemplating matrimony." Citizen; Hollywood, California; October 15, 1953

THE FAR JOURNEY (1955)

"This is a mildly adventuresome, mildly romantic historical novel which is well written and minus the pornographic filth which so many historical novelists seem to feel is an essential part of the history." Citizen Columbus, Ohio; August 28, 1955

"Loula Grace Erdman, who is as well known for her excellent juvenile stories as for her novels, here achieves a book of strength and inspiration that will hold every adult reader but that observes the decencies so that it will be one to recommend to young people making the transition from teenage books to adult books. We foresee that it will be a favorite in the 'young adult' room of libraries and will make its way into the recommended lists for schools." Post; Houston, Texas; August 18, 1955

"It takes a homely, simple story like this to remind Americans of the heroism of our own great-grandmothers, and our great-greats, who crossed the plains in covered wagons, forded rivers, fought off Indians, braved dust storms, wild animals, blizzards and bad men in order that America might live." Herald; Miami, Florida; September 11, 1955

THE WIDE HORIZON (1956)

"Like Miss Erdman's previous works, The Wide Horizon covers a sweeping canvas, and her story moves with warmth and with controlled drama. One of our most sensitive novelists, the Texas writer goes far beneath surfaces; her characters breathe and laugh and grow. The lovely story is recommended for all young ladies." Press-Telegram; Long Beach, California; September 30, 1956

"Although The Wide Horizon is primarily written for older girls, the story's appeal is much wider. Miss Erdman's insight into human emotions, especially where they concern the hidden fears and apprehensions of her characters, is at its best in her latest novel, and offers a depth not ordinarily found in books designed for a particular age group." Amarillo Daily News; Amarillo, Texas; October 11, 1956

THE SHORT SUMMER (1958)

"Modest in scope and emotional range, 'The Short Summer' achieves the status of a tranquilizer rather than a stimulant. Graceful and unpretentious, its appeal is directed chiefly to those who can recall the pre-war era of which Miss Erdman writes. To these, her scenes and characters will have all the validity of a cherished daguerreotype...." Courier Journal; Louisville, Kentucky; October 26, 1958

THE GOOD LAND (1959)

"It is a story of family life, of neighborliness and of a girl in adolescence--the baby of the family yearning to be treated as an adult--that comes alive in Miss Erdman's book. She convincingly describes the girl's feelings and relationships with her relatives and beau.... Beyond the principle narrative lies the story of a family managing to live a full life with meager trimmings. This is a family who stuck it out on the plains." Amarillo Sunday News-Globe; Amarillo, Texas; August 16, 1959

MANY A VOYAGE (1960, revised edition 1967)

"[Erdman] chronicles the life of Edmund G. Ross, the Kansas senator whose deciding vote saved Andrew Johnson from impeachment. Events are seen through the eyes of his wife Fannie.... Chief appeal for women readers." Booklist 57(10):292-293 (January 1961)

THE MAN WHO TOLD THE TRUTH (1962)

"If you're looking for light reading, or pleasant short stories with happy endings, this book is for you. Miss Erdman is a skillful story teller who gets beneath the surface in the lives of her characters." News Sentinel; Fort Wayne, Indiana; February 25, 1962

"This book contains a short novel and six short stories. Each piece is written with a sort of small-town, old-fashioned charm. The way of life which forms the author's point of view is not really a thing of the past, but because so much fiction of today concerns a faster paced, less settled sort of life, it is rather pleasant to dip into this volume and see life moving more slowly and thoughtfully." Best Sellers; Scranton, Pennsylvania; February 15, 1962

ROOM TO GROW (1962)

"It is a lively and beguiling account with accent on the not often stressed French heritage in Texas. Most heartily recommended." News; Dallas, Texas; November 11, 1962

LIFE WAS SIMPLER THEN (1963)

"[Life was Simpler Then] is sure to strike a nostalgic chord in the memory of anyone over 40 who remembers a middle class upbringing in the country or a small town in the late teens or early 20s.... Readers of her fiction will find... a key to many of the ideas and attitudes reflected in her earlier books." Amarillo Sunday News-Globe; Amarillo, Texas; August 11, 1963

"Life was Simpler Then is divided into four seasons, and it unerringly sets down dear, and for the most part, departed domestic rites and festivals which engrossed a family of children 30 or 40 years ago.... There's hardly anything in the book which you don't wish had been preserved and brought along into the now of the twentieth century." Amarillo Sunday News-Globe; Amarillo, Texas; October 25, 1964

A WONDERFUL THING, AND OTHER STORIES (1964)

"As always, Miss Erdman's writing is tailor-made for her audience, a fact which has endeared her to librarians and teachers. And young people are sure to enjoy her crisp, clear, fast-paced style and will best appreciate her knack, acquired from years of teaching, for young characters believable to others. There is great variety in the stories and enough romance in them to suit young sentimentalists." Amarillo Sunday News-Globe; Amarillo, Texas; April 26, 1964

"...a collection of short stories written to the youngsters' tastes, tangy and bittersweet, full of fully realized characters, any story of which might be a contender for place in an adult collection of best stories of the year." News; Dallas, Texas; August 23, 1964

ANOTHER SPRING (1966)

"Not a story of battlefield glory and horror, this is a novel of the helplessness of innocent persons displaced by the absurdities of war. Miss Erdman is at her best when writing as she has done before, of Missouri, and her knowledge of the region and its people and her research of the era contribute much. Another Spring is for all libraries wishing to add good historical fiction of the Civil War period." Library Journal 91(19):5428 (November 1, 1966)

"A well-told novel of regional history, of special interest to Kansans and Missourians." Publishers Weekly 190(17):45 (October 24, 1966)

A TIME TO WRITE (1969)

"This is more than a how-to book--although many readers will find interesting her counsel on finding and organizing material. Her writing-reminiscences fill many of her most enjoyable pages; she writes with an easy charm.... A warm, informal book, not 'literary' but unpretentious and easy to take." Publishers Weekly 195(4):96 (January 27, 1969)

"Now in A Time to Write this Texan by adoption writes informally (and always interestingly) about writing and research, her own career, her relations with publishers, and the rewards--and frustrations--of a writer's life. Necessarily autobiographical, her engaging story is both modestly and honestly written. She records her disappointments as well as her triumphs." Wichita Falls Times; Wichita Falls, Texas; May 4, 1969

A BLUEBIRD WILL DO (1973)

"The engaging story is probably true to the times, but the characters are insufficiently developed. Grades 5-9." Booklist 69(21): 1021 (July 1, 1973)

SAVE WEEPING FOR THE NIGHT (1975)

"In this fictionalized biography, Bettie Shelby comes across as an echo of her husband, a man who consistently chose the losing side. Rather than swear allegiance to a Carpetbagger government in Missouri, Confederate General Jo Shelby accepted a land grant from Maximillian in Mexico. After the triumph of Benito Juarez, Shelby and his followers were forced to leave the country. Bettie carried their five children from one disaster to another to the next and, according to Erdman, never complained or criticized and literally could not live without her husband, dying only a few months after him. The author, a Missourian who grew up near the Shelby home, is biased toward the Southern cause...." School Library Journal 21(9):63 (May 21, 1975)