Did you ever wonder about “Romance at the Limberlost”? Well, romance was a common theme in Gene Stratton-Porter’s novels along with a love of nature and a happy ending.
Valentine’s Day 1911 was a special day. Gene began writing The Harvester after breakfast that morning according to her secretary Lorene Miller Wallace. She sat at her desk in the library facing the east window and wrote the book in a mere twelve weeks. David Langston, a “harvester” of the woods, is one of Gene’s best loved characters.
The Harvester is a love story told from the view of David Langston, a man who sees a vision of the woman he will love, his “Dream Girl”. The Limberlost Cabin is the backdrop for the story as well as the Limberlost Swamp. David Langston makes his living from harvesting plants and herbs for medicinal reasons and other purposes. He eventually finds his Dream Girl and does his best to win her. “In his soul” he knew he would marry his Dream Girl. At the Limberlost Cabin, the back porch, often referred to as the Dream Girl’s Porch, also serves as a private entrance to a room many consider the Dream Girl’s bedroom.
Gene weaves nature and love together in many passages in The Harvester. Some examples: “the quavering voice of a night love song” was an owl calling for a mate; “flickers drunk on the wine of nature, flash their yellow-lined wings and red crown;” she writes about the songs of spring and “the bold, clear whistle of the cardinal sounds never so gaily; and song sparrows pipe from every wayside shrub and fence post.” She wants the reader to learn and to appreciate and love the nature that is around them.
Romance and a love of nature are common threads in Gene’s other Limberlost novels. Freckles, Song of the Cardinal, and A Girl of the Limberlost are some of Gene’s best known novels, and there’s plenty of romance that plays out in these stories, too.
We hope you will read one of Gene’s books this Valentine’s Day and enjoy the lure of the Limberlost and the romance to be found there. The Limberlost Cabin is open all winter for tours and our gift shop carries all of Gene’s books mentioned in this blog.
Happy Valentine’s Day from Limberlost!