Early Warning by Jane Smiley is the second book in her new trilogy series. I reviewed Some Luck when it came out. The Langdon family in 1953 is about to change, just like America. Walter, the patriarch has died. Rosanna watches as Joe stays to manage the farm, and the rest of her five kids scatter from Iowa. Through the 1960s and 70s, the Langdon children each follow a different path in a rapidly changing world, and they marry and have kids of their own. Twin boys are best friends and bitter rivals. A girl whose rebellious spirit takes her to the notorious Peoples Temple in San Francisco. And a golden boy drops out of college to fight in Vietnam – he leaves a legacy that will send shock waves through the family for the next generation. (cover blurb)
Early Warning is rich in its mix of history and storyline. The characters have depth and as Smiley weaves her tale, the pages turn faster. I liked this book more than the first. I felt it flowed better and was more interesting. Then again, it covers more than the farm era. It’s an engrossing story of the challenges – and rewards – of family and home, even in the most turbulent of times. Jane Smiley delivers once again, and now I eagerly await the third and final book.