Great Chicago Fire and Post–Civil War Era Is Setting for Historical Novel for Young Readers

Released on the eve of the 141st anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire, Plank Road Winter is a historical novel that looks at the impact of the Chicago Fire on two families, one from the city and one living on a farm in nearby Wisconsin.
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Sept. 24, 2012 - PRLog -- Crickhollow Books is pleased to announce the release on October 1 of Plank Road Winter, a middle-grade historical novel set in rural Wisconsin in the aftermath of the Great Chicago Fire and the Civil War.

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In the novel for young readers, young Sophie and Hans deal with issues of family values and tradition, friendship, and the importance of making good choices in difficult times.

In October 1871, 13-year-old Sophie Caswell longs to escape the dullness of life in her small farming community. Her grand plan is to find fame far away from Yorkville, Wisconsin. Her dreams are thwarted when the Chicago Fire brings chaos to that city, and leads to the arrival of 12-year-old Hans Hoffman and his family at the nearby McEachron farm.

While Sophie stubbornly pursues her dreams, Hans struggles to adapt to a world very different from the bustling German neighborhood he once knew.

During a memorable winter, Sophie and Hans learn much about life, loss, and the road home, as their families face the challenges of the years following the Civil War.

Plank Road Winter is a sequel to Plank Road Summer a historical novel set in Yorkville in 1852 when two pioneer girls become involved in the Underground Railroad. Winter takes place a generation later, when those pioneer girls are grown up and married with children of their own.

Crickhollow Books ( is an award-winning indie press based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Co-authors Hilda and Emily Demuth are sisters who grew up in the Yorkville community, where they heard stories of the old plank road from descendants of the early settlers. Hilda Demuth, a high school English teacher, lives near Valparaiso, Indiana. Emily Demuth, a school librarian and freelance writer, lives in Elmhurst, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.
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