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Means' chronicles depict fictional post- Civil War, non-fuction missionary life

When author Laurel Means visits Frazee June 25 for a book discussion and signing, she'll bring with her a feeling of the post-Civil War Midwest, as well as an aura of Malaysia.

Means, who lives in Chaska, created The Long Journey Home as a fictional account of post-Civil War characters struggling to rebuild their lives in Minnesota and the Dakotas.

In Journey, war-shocked veteran Henry Morton returns after his service to find his homestead ruined, his wife dead, and his grown children seeking their own lives. Following the promise of a Minnesota land grant, Morton visualizes a new family and a new start.

However, his path next crosses that of Agnes Guyette, a young, naïve and illiterate daughter of a French Canadian settler. Their suspenseful journeys lead them in different directions until the novel's conclusion brings with it a sense of survival and an affirmation of the human spirit.

In Beyond Words, the author uses letters written by her in-laws, Paul and Nathalie Means, to weave a biography of their lifelong work in Malaysia.

Paul and Nathalie Means were two remarkable American Methodist missionaries whose lives deeply blessed individuals, families and whole communities in many parts of Asia. Their varied skills, including linguistics, allowed them to move and teach among the people of that far-away area.

Both books will have high appeal to both male and female readers. Copies of Means' books will be available for purchase on the evening of the event, and two quick-read copies of Journey are available for loan through the Community Ed office.

Means has a Ph.D. in English and Linguistics from the University of Toronto, Canada. She is Adjunct Professor at a local college, where she teaches Christian Literature, Linguistics, Writing and Mass Media.

This special meet-the-author session will run 7-8:30 p.m. in the Frazee High School Media Center (enter through Door 16 in the back parking lot) and is co-hosted by the Frazee Area Arts Association, Frazee Book Club and Community Education. Call 334-2525 for more information.