Antonia is a bit reckless and completely likable. Her family is from Bohemia (I confess that I had to look up what region this is/was) and settles in a new country with few possessions but a strong work ethic. Every member of her family is strong and opinionated. Her mother is outspoken, bold and really rather funny.
Cather focuses on the settlement of the Midwest and picks a strong set of characters to follow. The story is told from Jim's viewpoint and is based on his memories. There is a nice mixture of personalities and back stories to follow. Jim is a young boy when he first meets Antonia and her family, and despite the language barrier, he is immediately drawn in and they spend many of their days together. I loved this part of the book and enjoyed watching Antonia learn about the culture and language of her new home. She is innocent, lovely and a hard worker. It reminded me of those times in life that are so wonderful but go by really fast.
Jim and Antonia over the years take very different paths which always seem to intersect. Ultimately I wanted to see them married and living happily ever after. They share memories and a very innocent time in their lives. I wanted to know them and be there too!
I listened to the audiobook version by Patrick Lawlor which was very well done. This was my first Cather novel and I enjoyed it very much. My only criticism is that although it was written in a completely different era, some of the racist attitudes were a bit much.