Reviews – PAPA


When Will Papa Get Home?

A childhood home is a place that remains deep in our memories for our entire life time. There are other things, little things, that spark a memory, like a blue marble lying in the dirt where it was once thrown away in anger, and later tucked into a treasure box, forgotten, but only until it is rediscovered. Maria was born in the United States, but only just. Her parents escaped Mexico in the 1920s, finally settling on a small homestead near Branson, in southern Colorado. The family fled Mexico and its fighting, but in their attempts to start again they faced another battle, prejudice, a battle that was very difficult to fight, especially with the language barrier to overcome.

Maria’s father was falsely accused of stealing horses and put in prison for ten years, an unprecedented length of time for the crime. During that time, Maria and her mother had to sell the land that they had come to love and treasure as their own, and they moved to Trinidad, where Maria’s mother found a home and work as a housekeeper. Maria grew up in Trinidad. Later in life, after a failed marriage and at the peak of a successful business career, Maria rediscovers her past and recalls her father’s dying wish to set the record straight, to prove his innocence. He was a proud man and he needed reassurance that somehow the truth would be revealed. The marble, a treasure from childhood, took Maria back to that time, and to a life that marked her determination and pursuit of success.

There are some stories that are true and some that are created in the minds of the storyteller. Larada Horner-Miller is a storyteller and her very sensitive novel, When Will Papa Get Home?, takes a fragment of truth from an old adobe house, known as the Philly Place, situated on a corner of her family’s homestead, a solitary blue marble that she found near the house, and the oft-repeated story of the wrongly convicted horse thief to create a compelling story that tells of pride and prejudice, hearty homesteaders, and life on the rugged, isolated prairie of the early twentieth century. Told in first person narrative, the author brings the reader right into Maria’s life as she struggles through her childhood, through circumstances she couldn’t understand, in a country, a life, a culture, and a language she didn’t know. And this young woman, Maria, grows up with the determination to overcome the barriers that faced her parents, the most defining barrier of language, which was used as a means to inflict prejudicial harm. A powerful story. Well told.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers’ Favorite