In This Land of Plenty


Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
454 Pages
Reviewed on 10/17/2020
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Author Biography

Mary Smathers grew up in Los Altos, California and graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Latin American Studies. She earned a Master’s degree in Education and another MA in Educational Administration and Policy Analysis from Stanford University. From 1983 to 2013, she worked in public schools throughout California as a high school teacher, administrator, teacher trainer, grant writer and educational entrepreneur, helping to found three education companies and a public charter school.
Since that time, she has focused on writing, reporting for a bilingual, regional Costa Rican newspaper and publishing her first work of fiction, Fertile Soil: Stories of the California Dream, in 2016. In This Land of Plenty, her debut novel was published in July, 2020. She divides her time between California’s Central Coast and the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, where she is at work chronicling the stories of subsequent generations in the Brennan/Castro family tree of In This Land of Plenty and developing a children’s book series featuring tropical and jungle animals.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Kathryn Bennett for Readers' Favorite

In This Land of Plenty by Mary Smathers introduces the reader to Nicole Sinclair. A woman who finds DNA documents that show a history far different than the Northern European background her father always said they had. With the help of her great-grandmother, she dives instead into a rich history that includes a Spanish soldier and a native Ohlone girl. While discovering this history, Nicole must try to get her father on board and save an old house from being sold off. A family saga that is ripe with the history that belongs in the very soil of California today.

As someone who has spent a lot of time digging around their own family roots, I absolutely love stories about rich family history. I connected with Nicole almost immediately. This story is full of fantastic history, reminding all of us today just how much California has to offer, not only in beautiful land but the rich history of our nation. Mary Smathers manages to weave this story beautifully in such a way as to keep every reader who picks up this book completely enthralled.

It was almost impossible to set this book down. I found myself learning a lot that I didn’t know about the history of California while we travel with Nicole through 250 years of family history. This book is truly a treat for the mind. You will find yourself painting the pictures being described to you as you read and I promise you will find yourself feeling as if you are walking through events right along with the characters. If you love a good story and a great history lesson, In This Land of Plenty is a book for you.