Afterword by Patricia McClelland Miller
First published in 1927, Islanders tells the story of an indomitable woman. The novel begins as Ellen's lover, brother, and father go off to the gold rush in California in 1849; it concludes as Ellen's grandniece waits for her lover to go off and fight in World War I in 1917. In between, other men of the family go off to war to make their fortunes—leaving the women, "islanders," to run the farm and care for their families. The prolific writer Helen R. Hull offers a portrait of rural American women's lives over three generations.
"Ellen Dacey, courageous and human, is a member of that undaunted company which includes Willa Cather's Antonia and Alexandra, Zona Gale's Lulu Bett and Ellen Bascomb. Miss Hull shares the sensitiveness of these authors to rightness of detail, their unpatronizing view of the scene, and their subjective clarity of vision. . . . Islanders is a splendidly vital novel. It has the rich beauty, the sturdy honesty, the lovely rigor of Ellen Dacey herself. In its implications it is the story not only of one woman's life . . . but the history of an era. . . . As the spirited chronicle of a brave and lonely woman's life, Islanders is most remarkable."
"This new novel by Helen Hull . . . is one of power, freshness, and ideas. . . . As the history of a brave, a clear-thinking, self-reliant woman, it is fascinating."