Smiley, Jane "The All-true Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton" - 1998
"Jane Smiley, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of 'A Thousand Acres', returns with a novel that explores one of the crucial moments in American history and culture, the conflict between abolitionists and proslavery settlers over the future of the Kansas Territory in 1855-'56. Smiley's narrative goes far beyond any simple historical novelization or any didactic examination of the slavery question; 'The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton' presents a multifaceted picture of the developing American character, as shaped not only by such explosive issues as slavery but also by the difficulties of the frontier and the day-to-day relationships between men and women."
After having read "A Thousand Acres", I just had to read another of her novels. This one is about a completely different subject and was just as good as her prize-winning one. I loved the main character, everything she goes through is told so explicitly, with so much feeling. If you like American history, you'll be intrigued. If you haven't been interested until now, this book might start you. Give it a try!