Chapters 1–5

In this award-winning book set in the late 1800s, a young woman answers an ad placed by a Midwestern man seeking a wife.
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definitions & notes only words
  1. dusk
    the time of day immediately following sunset
    It was dusk, and the dogs lay beside him on the warm hearthstones.
  2. troublesome
    difficult to deal with
    "I would have named you Troublesome," I said, making Caleb smile.
  3. homely
    lacking in physical beauty or proportion
    He was homely and plain, and he had a terrible holler and a horrid smell.
  4. wretched
    deserving or inciting pity
    I had gone to bed thinking how wretched he looked.
  5. prairie
    a treeless grassy plain
    Outside, the prairie reached out and touched the places where the sky came down.
  6. feisty
    showing spirit and courage
    "And Jack was feisty."
  7. murmur
    make complaining remarks or noises under one's breath
    "Rascal," murmured Papa, smiling, because no matter what Jack did Papa loved him.
  8. energetic
    possessing or displaying forceful exertion
    His wife-to-be is young and energetic.
  9. insult
    a deliberately offensive act
    I have always loved to live by the sea, but at this time I feel a move is necessary. And the truth is, the sea is as far east as I can go. My choice, as you can see, is limited. This should not be taken as an insult.
  10. prefer
    like better; value more highly
    Yes, I can braid hair and I can make stew and bake bread, though I prefer to build bookshelves and paint.
  11. depend
    be contingent upon
    My favorite colors are the colors of the sea, blue and gray and green, depending on the weather.
  12. peer
    look searchingly
    "What's that?" asked Caleb excitedly, peering over Papa's shoulder.
  13. hitch
    connect to a vehicle
    He fed and watered the horses, talking to them as he hitched them up to the wagon.
  14. nip
    give a small sharp bite to
    Old Bess, calm and kind, Jack, wild-eyed, reaching over to nip Bess on the neck.
  15. fetch
    go or come after and bring or take back
    And then Papa drove off along the dirt road to fetch Sarah.
  16. paddock
    a pen for horses
    There were buds on the wild roses that climbed up the paddock fence.
  17. scatter
    strew or distribute over an area
    At dusk Sarah cut Caleb’s hair on the front steps, gathering his curls and scattering them on the fence and ground.
  18. rustle
    a light noise, like the noise of leaves blowing in the wind
    Sarah sang us a song we had never heard before as we sat on the porch, insects buzzing in the dark, the rustle of cows in the grasses.
  19. coarse
    rough to the touch
    She sank her fingers into their thick, coarse wool.
  20. drift
    be in motion due to some air or water current
    She lay down in the field beside them and sang "Sumer Is Icumen in," her voice drifting over the meadow grasses, carried by the wind.
Created on March 11, 2014 (updated August 16, 2018)

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