Plank Road Winter

Plank Road Winter, by Hilda and Emily Demuth

Plank Road Winter
A Midwestern middle-grade historical novel
by Hilda and Emily Demuth

Crickhollow Books • October 1, 2012
Trade Softcover • 220 pages  • 5.5″ x 8.5″
Juvenile Fiction / Chapter Book / Ages 8–12
$13.95 • ISBN 978-1-933987-18-7

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Civil War–era
Great Lakes region
Rural Life
Immigrant Heritage (Cornish- and German-American)


Plank Road Summer
(prequel to Plank Road Winter)


Plank Road Winter is a middle-grade historical novel set in rural Wisconsin in the aftermath of the Great Chicago Fire and the Civil War, as young Sophie and Hans deal with issues of family, friendship, and the importance of making good choices in difficult times.

In October 1871, 13-year-old Sophie Caswell longs to escape the dullness of life in her small farming community. Her grand plan is to find fame far away from Yorkville, Wisconsin.

Sophie’s dreams are thwarted when the Chicago Fire brings chaos to that city, and leads to the arrival of 12-year-old Hans Hoffman and his family at the nearby McEachron farm.

While Sophie stubbornly pursues her dreams, Hans struggles to adapt to a world very different from the bustling German neighborhood he once knew.

During a memorable winter, Sophie and Hans learn much about life, loss, and the road home, as their families face the challenges of the years following the Civil War.

Plank Road Winter is a sequel to Plank Road Summer, a historical novel set in Yorkville in 1852 when two pioneer girls become involved in the Underground Railroad. Winter takes place a generation later, when those pioneer girls are grown up and married with children of their own.


Hilda and Emily Demuth are sisters who grew up in the locale depicted in the book, where they heard stories of the old plank road from descendants of the early settlers. Hilda Demuth, a high school English teacher, lives near Valparaiso, Indiana. She is also the author of Kingdom of the Birds, a historical novel for young readers set in Germany in 1521, at the time of Martin Luther. Emily Demuth, a school library/media aide and freelance writer, lives in Elmhurst, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.