Friday, December 16, 2011

{Review} These Is My Words by Nancy E. Turner

These Is My Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901 (Sarah Agnes Prine #1) by Nancy E. Turner
Published by ReganBooks, 1998
Hardcover, 384 pages
ISBN 0060392258
Genres: adult fiction, adventure, historical fiction, literary fiction, romance, western, women's fiction

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Inspired by the author's original family memoirs, this absorbing story introduces us to the questing, indomitable Sarah Prine, one of the most memorable women ever to survive and prevail in the Arizona Territory of the late 1800s. As a child, a fiery young woman, and finally a caring mother, Sarah forges a life as full and fascinating as our deepest needs, our most secret hopes, and our grandest dreams. She rides Indian-style and shoots with deadly aim, greedily devours a treasure trove of leatherbound books, dreams of scarlet velvet and pearls, falls uneasily in love, and faces down fire, flood, Comanche raids, and other mortal perils with the unique courage that forged the character of the American West. This action-packed novel is also the story of a powerful, enduring love between Sarah and the dashing cavalry officer Captain Jack Elliot. Neither the vast distances traveled nor the harsh and killing terrains could quench the passion between them, and the loss and loneliness both suffer only strengthen their need for each other. While their love grows, the heartbreak and wonder of the frontier experience unfold in scene after scene: a wagon-train Sunday spent roasting quail on spits as Indians close in to attack; Sarah's silent encounter with an Indian brave, in which he shows her his way of respect; a dreadful discovery by a stream that changes Sarah forever; the hazards of a visit to Phoenix, a town as hot as the devil's frying pan; Sarah's joy in building a real home, sketching out rooms and wraparound porches. Sarah's story leads us into a vanished world that comes vividly to life again, while her struggles with work and home, love and responsibility resonate with those every woman faces today.

 My review: What a beautiful story - painfully beautiful and cathartic. The characters are entirely believable and enjoyable, so much so that I was hooked before I had even read fifteen pages. I adore Sarah: her spunk, honesty, sense of humor, the intensity of her love. She has a brimming personality and is someone I feel like I would want to be best friends with. And I think I fell a little in love with Captain Elliot. I cried when I finished the book (a couple times, so I'm extra glad I have a sympathetic husband :) because the ending is so bittersweet. I usually don't like endings like this one, but the entire book was written so well, so effectively (and unaffectedly), I won't dare to disagree with how the author chose to end her story. I will admit, though, that I was hoping it would have an "And they lived happily ever after" ending. Ah well, regardless of whether the story closed the way I wanted it to or not, These Is My Words is a poignant book well worth reading. I picked it up inexpensively at a book sale and was planning on trading it at the bookshop for credit, but after finishing it, I decided to hold on to it a while longer.

If you enjoy These Is My Words and would like to continue reading about Sarah, there are two more books in the series:

Sarah's Quilt
The Star Garden


I have not read the second two books so I can't tell you how they measure up to the first, but I am extremely interested in reading them. I just keep forgetting to put them on my book list when I go to the library...

What books have you been enjoying this week? Let me know below. Also, don't forget about the december book giveaway ending on 12/21!
Mary Beth

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