A historical novel about a preacher who advocates the need for soil conservation in the 1850s. Purchase on Amazon.
Inspired by actual events that took place in upstate New York and Wisconsin in the mid-nineteenth century, The Travels of Increase Joseph is the first in Jerry Apps’s series set in fictional Ames County, Wisconsin. The four novels in the series—which also includes In a Pickle, Blue Shadows Farm, and the forthcoming Cranberry Red—all take place around Link Lake at different points in history. They convey Apps’s deep knowledge of rural life and his own concern for land stewardship.
It only seems as if Jerry Apps has written a couple hundred books, but it has to be at least a dozen by now, on subjects including beer and barns, circus and one-room schools. He’s even written a couple of fine children’s books.
It took him a long time to get around to writing a novel, but it was worth the wait. The Travels of Increase Joseph depicts a make-believe rural preacher in the real world of Wisconsin from pre-Civil War days to the turn of the Century, and it grabs and holds your interest all the way.
Like all of Jerry’s books, Travels is steeped in meticulous research, but this time Jerry has let his imagination have at the facts. We follow the career of Increase Joseph Link from the time he gets drummed out of theology school until his death. His calling to preach comes in the form of a literal lightning bolt and leads him to form the church of the Standalone Fellowship, based on teachings contained in a mysterious red book the preacher keeps with him at all times and never lets anyone else read. When not preaching a gospel of God, man, and the land, pastor Link peddles a cure-all tonic (the recipe also remains his secret, but I’m betting on a high alcohol content) that sells for “50 cents, or two for a dollar.” It’s a wonderful read and an education in Wisconsin history and the formation of America. I highly recommend it. Marshal Cook
The Travels Of Increase Joseph by Jerry Apps is a superbly crafted historical novel of a pioneer preacher who came to the wildlands of Wisconsin in 1852 with his small gathering of followers, the Standalone Fellowship. Supporting the Fellowship by selling his special curative tonic, and delivering oratory and with powerful messages that are nothing short of spellbinding, Joseph Link dared to speak out as he journeyed and his words and ideas made an impression that stayed. The Travels Of Increase Joseph is a most thoughtful and wonderfully entertaining read. Jerry Apps writes with vibrant character and has a penchant for making Wisconsin history come alive. Midwest Book Review.
Other Reviews: Fitchburg Star