Finnish North American Literature Association
Barbara Davis has worked as an English teacher, debate coach, feature writer,
lobbyist, public speaker, consultant, and assessment specialist. She earned a
master's degree in Journalism from Michigan State University in 1974 and a PhD
in Education (Measurement, Evaluation, and Statistical Analysis) from the
University of Chicago in 1990. She makes her home in southern Michigan with her
In the Way: A Novel of Love and Loss. New Brighton, MN: Finnish Americana,
This novel, partially based on family history, examines both love and loss as
Helmi, daughter of Finnish immigrants, struggles unceasingly to survive in the
face of persecution, poverty and prejudice. After her mother dies, Helmi and her
siblings are treated abominably by her stepmother whom her father married to
help to raise the children. While her father sees but ignores what is happening in
his household, Helmi is beaten and made to work until she is tired enough to drop.
When Helmi marries a man she loves, she engages the management of her own
house in ways much better than were modeled for her by her stepmother.
Nevertheless, when her stepmother is on her deathbed, Helmi comes to her aid.
She is shocked to see the filth and disrepair that the woman has lived in and
returns the home to its former spotlessness. Helmi realizes that she can afford to
pity her stepmother.