Where The Stepping Stones Lead

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
209 Pages
Reviewed on 04/20/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Where The Stepping Stones Lead is a work of fiction in the historical and personal drama sub-genres and was penned by author L.E. Hutchinson. Set in Washington D.C. during the United States’ involvement in the First World War, we meet young Gracie in 1917 as she prepares for a new life working in the Department of War. Mr. and Mrs. Clark take her in and help her out during the housing shortage, and so begins Gracie’s struggles to adjust to a new way of living and the many challenges and surprises she will find along the way. As the war comes to its close, we see a journey of personal transformation and identity taking place.

Author L.E. Hutchinson has crafted a delightful work filled with the many ups and downs of a difficult life, but it is inspiring in the figure of an ambitious young woman doing some good for her country. In Gracie, readers will find an affable and initially naïve heroine who grows with and is shaped by the plot of the novel, which makes great use of the conditions of America during World War One. I thought the dialogue was a particularly authentic element that gave a strong historical feel to the work, landing us in different times where the roles of men and women were starting to truly shift and adapt to diverse circumstances. Overall, I would recommend Where The Stepping Stones Lead as an emotive work that encompasses true-life drama and is written with authentic historical style and flair.

Cheryl E. Rodriguez

L. E. Hutchinson pens a simple, yet meaningful piece of historical fiction in Where the Stepping Stones Lead. In 1917, the nation is at war, patriotism fills the air. Gracie Pollock, a young small-town girl heads to Washington, DC to work. She passed her Civil Service Test – she is going to be a “government girl!” At seventeen, Gracie leaves her hometown for the first time. She anxiously boards a train, hoping to return one day to open up her dream restaurant. On the train, Mr. Joseph Clark, a cheerfully vibrant and well-to-do man, sits down next to her. This chance meeting with a complete stranger opens up a whole new life for Gracie. Before she knows it, she becomes a vital member of the Clark family, learning and experiencing much, and at times too much about their family dynamic. Every day living in the nation's capital creates stepping stones, leading Gracie Pollock into her future.

L. E. Hutchinson’s Where the Stepping Stones Lead reveals the heart and soul of a small-town girl living in the big city. The main character is bright, bold, and a bit spunky, yet naïve in her thinking. However, as the story unfolds her character grows through experience and the people she meets. The setting is in Washington, DC, during the Great War. With the country at war, the men had left, giving opportunities for women to enter the workplace. The female characters no longer thought of being only homemakers, now they were becoming independent in thought and action. The world had opened up to them, providing them with dreams of becoming spies, pilots, and business owners. The matronly character of Mrs. Clark influences Gracie in many ways; her mannerisms, wealth, and her secret hidden past cause Gracie to mature beyond her small-town world. The narrative is an enjoyable and quick read. Set during a time of restlessness and adventure, Where the Stepping Stones Lead is a heartwarming story of family devotion, patriotism, and hope. It is a brief glimpse into the past, revealing how far we have come as a people and a nation.

Edith Wairimu

Set in World War I, Where The Stepping Stones Lead by L.E. Hutchinson follows seventeen-year-old Gracie Pollock as she arrives in the bustling city of Washington D.C. A small-town girl from Ohio, Gracie cannot wait to begin her new job at the Department of War. On the train bound for Washington, Gracie meets Joseph Clark, a successful businessman who offers Gracie accommodation. The Clarks welcome Gracie into their home as their way of contributing to the war effort. As Gracie adapts to her new life, she realizes her work is more demanding than she had hoped. She also finds out shocking secrets that could destroy the Clark family. While still in Washington, Gracie meets a charming man. As the war continues, things shift in Gracie’s life but her dreams to become a successful woman remain.

As the main character in Where The Stepping Stones Lead, Gracie is charming and likable. She soon gains the interest of Mr. Clark on the train while strict mannerisms and her determination set her apart and add to her personality. The Clarks are also interesting. Their union is masked by many secrets that Gracie is curious to find out. The novel transports readers back to the World War I era which makes it captivating and informative. As the center of the war effort, it provides a suitable background for an enthusiastic Gracie who longs to make a living and achieve her dreams. L.E. Hutchinson’s Where The Stepping Stones Lead is a delightful read with a lovely romance story and intriguing characters.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

The year 1917 would be monumental for young Gracie. At the age of seventeen, Gracie packed her bags and left her small-town home in Ohio to take a job at the War Department in Washington. From the moment she boarded the train and met the kindly Mr. Clark, she was overwhelmed with kindness and friendships as she began a challenging and fulfilling career. It was fortunate for her that Mr. Clark and his wife invited her to live in their spacious home, as there really weren’t many rooms available to rent in Washington. Not with the war going on and so many women and men working in the War Department or preparing to go overseas. Gracie made good friends at work, Jenny, Mary, Kathleen, and Liz, and she fell in love with Bobby. As she became a permanent resident in the Clark home, Gracie was swept up in the love of jazz music and the mystery behind her hostess. The war brought tragedy and heartache and the end of the war brought on the Spanish Flu. Through it all, Gracie proceeded with her goal to work hard and save her earnings. For she had big dreams.

L.E. Hutchinson’s novel, Where the Stepping Stones Lead, is a historical fiction novel set in the United States during the latter years of the First World War. The main plot follows the growing career of a young office worker from a small town. But Gracie’s story isn’t the only plot in this novel; there is also the mysterious Mrs. Clark whose past comes back to pay her a visit, causing great grief to Gracie’s hostess. The historical background is well researched, including the rising popularity of jazz music and the tragic circumstances of the Spanish flu epidemic. All through the novel, there is a growing sense of friendship and a good work ethic as everyone comes together to help one another. Most of the story is told in compelling dialogue which moves the plot along. It certainly makes an interesting narrative and provides the reader with insight into life in Washington during the First World War and the Spanish flu epidemic.

Sandra Williams

What a wonderful example of historical fiction! Some of the events are based upon real people involved.

Nyla Vollmer

I recently finished the book. I couldn't put it down. It is very well written and I could imagine being there. I highly recommend this for anyone that loves history.

Kaliegh K.

This is the second book that this author has written and both are fantastic! Such a wonderful and refreshing view of American history.