Our site will be undergoing maintenance from 6 a.m. - 6 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 20. During this time, Bookshop, checkout, and other features will be unavailable. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Cookies must be enabled to use this website.
Book Image Not Available Book Image Not Available

See inside

Book details
  • SubGenre:Women
  • Language:English
  • Pages:288
  • eBook ISBN:9781667879192
  • Paperback ISBN:9781667879185

A Long Way from Iowa

From the Heartland to the Heart of France

by Janet Hulstrand

View author's profile page

Book Image Not Available Book Image Not Available

See inside


This story, about three generations of women with a passion for reading, writing, and travel, begins in 1992 in an unfinished attic in Brooklyn, as a young writer reads journals written by her grandmother as a schoolgirl nearly 100 years earlier. This sets her on a 30-year quest to uncover the unfulfilled dreams of her mother and grandmother. In the process she comes to terms with the complicated relationships she had with both of them--and realizes that the passion for writing that has fueled her life's journey is a gift that was passed down to her by the very role models she was determined to escape.

"Janet Hulstrand's charming memoir will cheer every reader who has dreamed of changing her life, living in Europe, becoming a writer, or just plain having a more lively time than a Midwestern girl usually expects." Diane Johnson, best-selling author of Le Divorce

"Janet Hulstrand is an adventurer with a passion for travel, and a writer with a gift to teach. Her honest memoir of moving to a village in France will inspire others to think of change as life-enhancing, and courage as a habit we can learn." Elaine Showalter, Professor Emerita, Princeton University

"Hulstrand skillfully weaves the threads of her own life with those of her mother's and grandmother's... the story of three strong women and the personal challenges they faced…storytelling at its best." Harriet Welty Rochefort, author of French Toast and Joie de Vivre

"A lovely, lyrical memoir...Janet Hulstrand is an engaging storyteller, and her memoir is a testament to the writing life, and to all the hardship and reward that it entails." Susan Coll, author of Bookish People

"...a fascinating journey, backward in time as the author seeks to uncover the hidden lives of her mother and grandmother, then forward as she forges her own adventurous path out of the Midwest and into a village in the French countryside...a fun and heartwarming read." Adrian Leeds, from HGTV's House Hunters International


This is a story of the life-changing journey of the author as she comes to terms with the complicated relationships she had with her mother and grandmother; about her travels in the US and France; and the emotional journey she takes as she recovers from the breakup of her marriage. It is also about the journeys—geographic, intellectual, and emotional—of her mother and grandmother. It is a story about the tenacity and strength of even difficult family relationships; and about the role of luck, both good and bad, in shaping human lives. It is about the importance of dreams, whether or not they are entirely fulfilled. And it is about the importance of persistence in making dreams come true, as well as the kind of wisdom that allows one to quietly enjoy one's life, accepting its limitations while pushing its boundaries. 

About the author

Janet Hulstrand is a writer, editor, writing coach, and teacher who grew up in Minnesota, and has lived in New York City, Washington DC, and France. She teaches online literature classes for Politics and Prose bookstore, and she created and has taught "Paris: A Literary Adventure," a study abroad program for the City University of New York , since 1997. She writes frequently for Bonjour Paris, France Today, France Revisited, and for her blog, Writing from the Heart, Reading for the Road. She is the author of Demystifying the French: How to Love Them, and Make Them Love You, and coauthor of Moving On: A Practical Guide to Downsizing the Family Home. She divides her time between the US and a little village in the Champagne region of France.

Book Reviews

to submit a book review