"I first heard of Ántonia on what seemed to me an interminable journey across the great midland plain of North America. I was ten years old then; I had lost both my father and mother within a year, and my Virginia relatives were
sending me out to my grandparents, who lived in Nebraska. I travelled in the care of a mountain boy, Jake Marpole, one of the 'hands' on my father's old farm under the Blue Ridge, who was now going West to work for my grandfather. Jake's
experience of the world was not much wider than mine. He had never been in a railway train until the morning when we set out together to try our fortunes in a new world."
Thus begins this novel, thought by many to be Cather's best -- about the life of a spirited girl, the daughter of Bohemian immigrants, growing up on the Nebraska prairie in the 1800s.
What does this have to do with New Hampshire?
According to a letter Cather wrote June 9, 1943 to Harrison T. Blaine, she wrote much of this novel in a tent that had been pitched in a field between High Mowing (owned by Blaine's mother at the time the of the letter) and Stony Brook Farm. Cather was staying at the Shattuck Inn in Jaffrey, NH at the time. According to the Willa Cather Archive, this letter is owned by the Jaffrey Public Library.