Book Reviews

"This compelling story offers a fresh approach to the genre of historical fiction. Author Lynne Gough uniquely combines meticulous research into genealogical and documentary sources with a remarkable writing talent and brilliant folk art illustrations. The result is a book that is at once history, literature, and art."
Janet Marchant, Journalist and Editor

"Lynne Gough has written a remarkable work of historical fiction about an American pioneer family, based on original sources. The amazing fact is that it is her American pioneer family! In this fascinating tale of determined optimism, the Morris pioneers not only prevailed over daunting set-backs, but they thrived through the genius of seizing opportunity. This debut novel, is at its heart, the American dream—transporting us to a time when family bonds transcended personal limitations to deliver a champion: Tilly Alcartra, the Holstein Queen."

Kimberly Richter, Educator & Curriculum Development, Winship/Robbins School District, CA

"This book is a history of a real person, Asa W. Morris, who serves as a vehicle to explain the development of the United States, hence its subtitle: An American Story. It is history through the eyes of a remarkable but recognizable human being. Quietly—without preaching—the book provides guidance about the nature of success in a hard life: the absolute necessity for resilience, perseverance, hard work, and self-control. It is profoundly educational; the entire book reads as if it is absolutely true."
Dr. Dale O'Brien M.D., M.P.H.

"I found Asa and the Holstein Queen quite charming as it led me through some of the momentous events in American history, personalized through eyes of the author’s family. I feel that one of its greatest strengths is that it illustrates that special grit, inventiveness, and resiliency that has allowed Americans to survive and eventually thrive. It is inspiring for readers of all levels. And, as a fellow artist, I must say that the illustrations are just stunning!"
Marian O’Neal, Specialist in Educational Publishing, Monterey, CA

“What a fun read! History feels much closer when we learn it through our family and community. In this entertaining and educational story, Lynne Gough welcomes us into her family, giving her ancestors a chance to walk and talk again. This should be a great introduction to genealogy that will inspire budding researchers!”
Candice Buchanan, M.A., C.G., Greene Connections Archivist

"A family epic as wide and wonderful as our country. Beautifully told and illustrated, it will enthrall readers of all ages. I love this book as much as I loved Little House on the Prairie when I was growing up."
Mary Beth Pastorius, Architectural Historian, Greene County, PA

“In Asa and the Holstein Queen, Lynne Gough unfolds the story of her family in the context of the national experience. She accomplishes this expertly, writing with an assurance and straightforwardness that will appeal to adolescent readers, as well as many others. The centerpiece is Asa Morris (1857-1921), her great-grandfather, born and raised in Southwestern PA, who finds his fortune in another farming community--in Yolo County, CA--on the other side of the country. By looking at generations of the Morris family before and after Asa, Gough is able to encompass nearly two centuries of American history reflected in the experiences of real people. The subtitle of the book, “An American Experience”, is most appropriate to the family’s quest.
At its heart, however, this is the tale of a farm family, its connection to the land, its dedication to a kind of hard work that carries certain dangers and more than hints of mortality, and its commitment to livestock. It is no coincidence that the co-star is Tilly Alcartra, a champion dairy cow.”
David Cressey, President, Cornerstone Genealogical Society, Waynesburg, PA

“Because I was a member of the 4-H Club many years ago and showed Holstein calves at local fairs, this story had wonderful resonance for me! It also connected me with a community of gold rush pioneers who courageously travelled across the country, mined for gold, then had the flexibility to abandon their quest in order to create their own golden history through farming in California. The story is embellished by photos and lovely illustrations. It is certain to be enjoyed by tweens, teens and adults.”
Mary Davies BScN, MScN., Ontario, Canada

“Through this winsomely illustrated story, I took a journey I won't soon forget. I listened to the fireside stories of war and Indian raids, I watched the harshly beautiful western landscape change from the seat of a California bound covered wagon, and I learned much about this rich golden state that I call home. I fell in love with the bovine Queen, Tilly Alcartra, and I gained a deep respect for Lynne Gough's exceptional Great-Grandfather Asa who recognized and lovingly developed the cow's amazing potential. Supported by sound genealogical research, the tales of the Morris family faithfully bring our shared American history to life. Lynne shows what it means to be a Pioneer and build a strong foundation for the future. This creative work is a true inspiration for family historians, both young and old.”
Lisa Henderson, Vice President, Davis Genealogy Club, Davis, CA

Tilly and herd eating corrected


Old Home Place Knights Landing 1910


Morris Holsteins BW


Yuba tractor BW


Bull Rider BW


6 Tule Ranch Barn 2


7 Round em up BW


8 Albert Hoge harrowing BW


9 Big Tractor BW