Stuart, Nebraska is a long way from the battlefields of Western Europe, but it is t immune to the horrors of the first Great War for Peace. Like all communities, it has lost sons and daughters to the fighting, with many more giving themselves over to the hatred only war can engender. Set in 1918 in the farm country at the heart of America, The Meaning of Names is the story of an ordinary woman trying to raise a family during extraordinary times. Estranged from her parents because she married against their will, confronted with violence and prejudice against her people, and caught up in the midst of the worst plague the world has ever seen, Gerda Vogel, an American of German descent, must find the strength to keep her family safe from the effects of a war that threatens to consume the whole world.
Karen Gettert Shoemaker is the author of Night Sounds and Other Stories. Awards for her writing include a Nebraska Press Association Award for Feature Writing, two Independent Artist Fellowship Awards from the Nebraska Arts Council, and a Nebraska Book Award for Short Fiction. Her work has been published in a variety of newspapers and journals, including The London Independent, Prairie Schooner, Kalliope, and The South Dakota Review, and anthologized in A Different Plain: Contemporary Nebraska Fiction Writers, Times of Sorrow/Times of Grace, An Untidy Season, and Nebraska Presence: An Anthology of Poetry. She is a faculty mentor with the University of Nebraska s MFA in Writing Program. She lives in Lincoln, Nebraska, where she and her husband own and operate Shoemaker s Truck Stop and Travel Center.