At the end of Henrik Ibsen's play A Doll's House, Nora Helmer walks away from her family and comfortable life. It is 1879, late on a winter's night in Norway. She's alone, with little money and few legal rights. Guided by instinct and sustained by will, Nora sets off on a journey that impoverishes and radicalizes her, then strands her on the harsh Minnesota prairie. She's searching for love, purpose, and her true self, but struggles to be honest in a hostile world.
Meanwhile, in 1918, a young university student tries to escape her family's bourgeois conformity as she unravels her grandfather's hidden shame and the fate of a shadowy feminist who vanished years earlier.
With this inventive work of historical fiction, Swallow answers a question that has dogged theater audiences for A Doll's House: whatever happened to Nora Helmer? Masterfully crafted and painstakingly researched, the twin story lines of Searching for Nora combine to tell a powerful tale of redemption as they unfold over four decades in the fjords of Norway and the unforgiving American frontier.