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Interested in joining a book club that is open to everyone, no matter where you live? The meeting place for this book club is this website.

Here’s how it works.  You buy a copy of the featured book or borrow a copy from your library.  Then, over a period of a month, you read the book, and make comments or post questions in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

For each book, I will pose some questions to guide you in your reading. I will respond to your questions and comments, as well as ask additional questions as the reading period continues.

April 2019 Book Selection: Blue Shadows Farm.


Blue Shadows Farm follows the intriguing family story of three generations on a Wisconsin farm. Silas Starkweather, a Civil War veteran, is drawn to Wisconsin and homesteads 160 acres in Ames County, where he is known as the mysterious farmer forever digging holes. After years of hardship and toil, however, Silas develops a commitment to farming his land and respect for his new community. When Silas’s son Abe inherits Blue Shadows Farm he chooses to keep the land out of reluctant necessity, distilling and distributing “purified corn water” throughout Prohibition and the Great Depression in order to stay solvent. Abe’s daughter, Emma, willingly takes over the farm after her mother’s death. Emma’s love for this place inspires her to open the farm to school- children and families who share her respect for it. As she considers selling the land, Emma is confronted with a difficult question—who, through thick and thin, will care for Blue Shadows Farm as her family has done for over a century? In the midst of a controversy that disrupts the entire community, Emma looks into her family’s past to help her make crucial decisions about the future of its land.

Blue Shadows Farm

 Discussion Questions

  1. What did you like best about this book?
  2. What is your reaction to the title, Blue Shadows Farm?
  3. Which characters in the book did you like best? Why?
  4. Which characters did you like least? Why?
  5. Silas Starkweather sets out looking for something, yet what he finds is more important to him. Have you personally done this or know someone who has?
  6. Do you know of multi-generation farm owners who have faced selling the home farm?  What have they done?  What have been the outcomes—especially for the seller?
  7. Share a favorite quote from the book. Why did this quote stand out?
  8. What feelings did this book evoke for you?
  9. What historical facts in the book were of most interest to you?
  10. What was Jerry’s purpose in writing the book?
  11. How did reading this book change you or your views?

Buy the book from your local bookstores, online, or from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, WI (Book sales are a fundraiser for the Library Friends). The Patterson phone is 920-622-3835. Email =


  1. I noticed a more swift current feeling with this book right away. Its inclusive and involves characters from Increase Joseph. I am enjoying every chapter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. In each of my novels, I discuss a current problem in rural America and then develop a story that includes its historical connections as well as its present day reality.


      • Finished and enjoyed the book especially the surprise near the end. Did not know anyu gems were ever found in Wisconsin. Now on the the CCC boys.
        Jim Honer


  2. Jim, Diamonds have been found in Wisconsin.

    The stone which created the greatest interest in the possibility of diamonds in Wisconsin was discovered in 1888 near the Green Lake Moraine and is known as the Theresa Diamond. The stone weighed 21.5 carats and is the largest diamond on record ever recovered in the State, and the fifth largest in the United States.
    diamonds and kimberlites? – MSU Department of Geography


    • The modern era and it’s characters felt more hectic. I noticed a frantic nature and the lives involve more people, meetings, technology, phones, decisions etc etc. I picked up on a noticeable contrast between the pressures on the characters between the modern and early eras.


  3. “Success becomes a person’s fault when it is contaminated with greed,” Increase Joseph continued. Then he repeated himself, “Success becomes a fault when it is contaminated with greed.” Interesting quote in an address to a group from Greed Chapter 29.


  4. It’s just nice to read that Emma made some good decisions in life and didn’t sell out to Modern Nature Educators. And Mayor Jessup’s campaign to discredit the Link Lake Gazette and dry up its advertising revenue backfired and corruption was revealed. The public made the right decision to elect a different Mayor. Some things end up well.


  5. Thank you to all who participated in my April Book Club. The Book Club is taking a summer rest, and starting up again in September. We’ll be looking at my new nonfiction book, The Civilian Conservation Corps in Wisconsin. If you want to get a head start for this fall, get the book and start reading.

    See you in September. Jerry


  6. Jerry…The CCC…AHHHHhhhhh!! A childhood education seminar from Dad every summer that we settled in on a Wisconsin lake for a little fishing. I recall the “CCC lecturesd” my dad gave me ass we drove in from the western ‘burbs of Chicago. He was a great fan of the CCC…yest, he DETESTED FDR!


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