Saturday, August 17, 2013

These Is My Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine 1881-1901

Author: Nancy E. Turner
Pages: 384
Rating: PG - it's the wild west, there are shootings, train robberies, and twice Sarah narrowly escapes rape, but nothing is overly graphic or inappropriate

A moving, exciting, and heartfelt American saga inspired by the author's own family memoirs, these words belong to Sarah Prine, a woman of spirit and fire who forges a full and remarkable existence in a harsh, unfamiliar frontier. Scrupulously recording her steps down the path Providence has set her upon—from child to determined young adult to loving mother—she shares the turbulent events, both joyous and tragic, that molded her, and recalls the enduring love with cavalry officer Captain Jack Elliot that gave her strength and purpose.
Rich in authentic everyday details and alive with truly unforgettable characters, These Is My Words brilliantly brings a vanished world to breathtaking life again.
My Thoughts: Wow. I really really ended up loving this book, recommended to me by several people, and so I finally read it. If you're looking for a strong female character who feels as real as real can be, read this book. The book is largely fiction, and is only loosely based on the experiences of the author's grandmother, but I don't feel like that ruined the book for me at all. You can easily imagine that Sarah's experiences were not at all unusual to a woman living in the Territories during that time.

Sarah is an extremely strong-willed, sensible, and brave woman. She's a quick shot with a rifle or pistol, she works hard every day of her life and thinks nothing of it, she yearns for knowledge and does everything she can to read all sorts of books in order to further her learning, and she's smart too. I absolutely loved her character. Even though she has many moments of vulnerability, she is mostly someone who just takes whatever life gives her and just keeps moving on with it. She's completely in the dark when it comes to love though, and goes for years without realizing that someone is trying to secure her affections. She also doesn't know what it feels like when she's in love, and thinks that said man is frustrating and cruel.

Reading this book definitely alerts you to how many blessings you have and how easy you have it. I know I found myself more thankful in my daily prayers as I read this book. By the time Sarah is 18, she has lost two family members, several close friends, has witnessed the deaths of several people, and has actually killed a dozen men herself. Life in the Arizona Territories back in the 1800's was rife with Indian violence, and death was much more common of an occurrence than it is now. Sarah experiences so many trials and difficulties I hope I never have to deal with, and it makes me grateful for modern medicine and hospitals and the fact that we have cures or vaccinations for so many things that plagued Sarah's family.

I highly recommend this book. You will be amazed by Sarah's life. Throughout it all, she hardly ever complains, and then only for a moment or two. And I just know that there were women just like her that lived back then. They were amazing people. READ THIS BOOK! =)

Saturday, August 3, 2013


Author: Julianne Donaldson
Pages: 255
Rating: G

Marianne Daventry will do anything to escape the boredom of Bath and the amorous attentions of an unwanted suitor. So when an invitation arrives from her twin sister, Cecily, to join her at a sprawling country estate, she jumps at the chance. Thinking she'll be able to relax and enjoy her beloved English countryside while her sister snags the handsome heir of Edenbrooke, Marianne finds that even the best laid plans can go awry. From a terrifying run-in with a highwayman to a seemingly harmless flirtation, Marianne finds herself embroiled in an unexpected adventure filled with enough romance and intrigue to keep her mind racing. Will Marianne be able to rein in her traitorous heart, or will a mysterious stranger sweep her off her feet? Fate had something other than a relaxing summer in mind when it sent Marianne to Edenbrooke.

My Thoughts: The summary makes this book out to be more scandalous than it really is, but I still liked it. If you like Jane Austen or anything similar, this book is set in the same time period, but with slightly more modern language, and a little less tedium in the wording. Edenbrooke is a love story, and very well done I thought. Even though there weren't many surprising twists and turns, it was still a very sweet story, not too cheesy, and totally clean. Yay!

I really enjoyed the character of Marianne. She has always played second fiddle to her sister, and has never felt that she is very beautiful or even desirable. She's very innocent and pure, and feels that she could never really be an elegant lady because of how much she enjoys being outdoors and other activities not considered "ladylike." When a handsome gentleman begins to pay special attention to her, Marianne convinces herself that he treats all women like this and she is not anything more than a flirtation to him. She doesn't have the best self-worth, believing that her sister will always get what she wants, but Marianne will just get whatever is left. Definitely worth the read if you want a clean, sweet love story with just enough intrigue.