Self-Published Saturday: Leora’s Dexter Stories

Self-Published Saturday is my effort to help Indie and Self-Published authors with one of the most difficult tasks they have to do–marketing. Indie authors have to do it all, from cover design to editing, marketing, and more. If I can help even a little bit with the marketing, I’m happy to do it. This week’s feature is the wonderful Leora’s Dexter Stories: The Scarcity Years of the Great Depression. the second in the Leora Series. This is the story of an American family struggling through the depression in rural Iowa.


The undertow of the Great Depression becomes poignantly personal as we experience the travails of Leora and Clabe Wilson, a displaced Iowa farm family. Gritty determination fuels this family’s journey of loss and hope, a reflection of what many American families endured during those challenging times.

In this true story the Wilsons slowly slide into unemployment and poverty. Leora must find ways to keep her dreams alive while making a haven for her flock of seven children in one run-down house after another.


This is a wonderful true story of a family of tenant farmers struggling to survive during the depression years in Iowa. Spanning from about 1927 to 1942, we follow the family as they move from farm to farm, working hard to make ends meet and put food on the table. At the same time, we learn the history of a country as it falls into the Great Depression and then tries to rise out of it. We watch the Wilson family suffer hunger, sickness, and heartbreaking loss in a time of great hardship. We watch them go from farming to odd jobs to unemployment, working hard and finding a way to survive.

When the two oldest go off to join the Navy, they put the family on their shoulders instead of leaving them behind, sending money to help keep them warm and fed. The mother, Leora Wilson, who was not allowed to go to high school, gets to see her children graduate against great odds. Through memoirs, letters, photos, and newspaper articles, we follow this family as they learn of the New Deal, finally accept some help from the government, and eventually go off to war. And through it all, we realize that despite their lack of money, they are rich in love, loyalty, grit, and fortitude. This saga of a family and a country speaks in detail of a way of life that no longer exists and documents it for all time. It is a part of American history that should not be missed.

I downloaded a copy of this book on Kindle Unlimited, where subscribers can read it for free.


Joy Neal Kidney

I am the keeper of family stories, letters, pictures, research, combat records, casualty reports, and terrible telegrams. Active on several history and military Facebook pages, I help administer local ones–Audubon County, Dallas County, and Guthrie County, Iowa–the places where my motherline stories originated, as well as Depression Era Iowa. 

Born two days before D-Day to an Iowa farmer who became an Army Air Corps pilot, then an instructor–with orders for combat when the war ended–and an Iowa waitress who lost three of her five brothers during that war. I spent my childhood in an Iowa farmhouse with a front porch. Now I live with my husband, a Vietnam veteran, in a suburban house with a front porch.

I’ve published two books (“Leora’s Letters: The Story of Love and Loss for an Iowa Family During World War II” and “Leora’s Dexter Stories: The Scarcity Years of the Great Depression.”) I’m a regular contributor to Our American Stories. 

Awards: 2021 Great American Storyteller Award by Our American Stories and WHO NEWSRADIO 1040

2021 – First place Our Iowa Stories award named for Joy Neal Kidney.


*If you buy the book(s), please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books.  Some people feel very daunted by writing a review. Don’t worry. You do not have to write a masterpiece. Just a couple of lines about how the book made you feel will make the author’s day and help the book succeed. The more reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote it.

*Please click on the “share” buttons below and share these books with your Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress followers. A little bit of help from all of us will help self-published authors go a long way!

16 thoughts on “Self-Published Saturday: Leora’s Dexter Stories”

  1. Thank you for the New Year boost, Bonnie! I’ve started work on the third “Leora book,” her early years. The first one was about those very difficult WWII years, and yet, she was such a delight as a grandmother!


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