Every time I read one of Kathryn Hilliard Klos’ books I think, “This one is the best,” and then I read the next one and think the same thing over and over again! In Picnics at Walden Pond, Frankie Wheat recounts her experiences from the year 2070 when she had just lost her husband, mother and Henry, her beloved dog. Married to an older man, she has always felt distanced from him. When he passes in his 80s, she is still in her 60s. His greatest accomplishment was the development of a device called the “Ouroboros.” This device is supposed to help people heal, yet it also has another purpose; it can send people back in time. Frankie’s gift from her husband is to send her back to 1845, so that she can meet Henry David Thoreau. Being a professor of 19th century American literature, this is an incredible gift. Frankie has always felt a passion for Thoreau’s works. She is also hoping to meet some other famous people from that time.
By going back in time for 16 weeks, Frankie will be able to reclaim the health and looks that she had in her 20s. Preventive measures are in place to make sure that she doesn’t do anything to drastically alter the future. Shortly after Frankie arrives, she realizes that these measures will not allow her to meet any of the other famous historical figures. Her only connection will be Thoreau, whom she fondly refers to as “HD.” During their short time together, they develop a very special relationship. While the Ouroboros physically restores Frankie to her youth, her relationship with HD restores her heart and soul. Knowing that she doesn’t have much time with him she savors every precious moment.
In Picnics at Walden Pond, Frankie, believed to be in her 80s, tells her story about her time at Walden Pond to her son who is now 60-years-old. She wants him to understand his heritage, and to appreciate the legacy that has brought him to this point in his life. He also has a great adventure in store for him.
Being a fan of Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, I was so pleased to read this unique story. When most people think about going back in time, they don’t think about going to Walden Pond, yet what better place to go to? While there are some deterrents to fantasizing about going there, such as incurable TB, Tetanus, and a lack of personal hygiene products, Walden Pond was an idyllic place to visit because of these two writers. The writings of these men have had a profound effect on the lives of many, including myself. Obviously well-researched so that it is written realistically, Picnics at Walden Pond, tells an incredible tale.