Reviewed by Jane Finch for Readers' Favorite
Hard Times by John Hansen tells the story of Phil and Martha Caldwell as they seek a better life for themselves. In a story set in the 1930s, Phil persuades his reluctant wife to move from Lincoln, Nebraska to a 320-acre homestead in the wilds of Montana. Martha is happy with her life in town, but Phil dreams of owning his own farm and being his own boss. Whilst cleaning out a well, Phil finds himself in peril when Martha mysteriously disappears, and it is only when his neighbour rescues him the following day that Phil is able to search for his wife. Add to this the unpredictable weather in Montana which destroys his crops, and Phil finds himself alone and his dreams shattered. He finds he has to sink to depths he never imagined in order to make enough money to pay the bank, threatening not only his livelihood, but his very life. And then everything takes a turn for the worse.
The author, John Hansen, has written a compelling story that lovers of this type of fiction will really enjoy. Man battling nature, and man battling man, this story grips from page one. The voice of the book is appropriate to the era, and is nicely written with a pace that is consistent and with a story line that does not disappoint. For readers that enjoy adventures, this is one that won’t easily be forgotten. Well done to John Hansen for crafting a story that goes to the heart of those who have dreams for a better future, whatever the cost.