Friday, January 14, 2011

These is my Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901 Arizona Territories by Nancy Turner

This is an EXCELLENT book!
I was a little hesitant when this book was chosen for our book club. Why did I want to read an old diary and who would ever want to live in the Arizona Territories? It had to be hot and boring!

Well - I was mistaken! Sarah is the daughter of a pioneer who believes that girls should have the same skills as boys - so she could ride and shoot and work. Her family was moving East to Texas. Yes - east...
On the way they are attacked by Indians and her papa is killed. Mama goes a little off in her head and Sarah is the one getting things done. That continues when the other family in the wagon train - a Mormon family with prissy, beautiful girls, is caught up in a terrible attack. It is Sarah who has the sense to react - much to the families dismay.

The story follows Sarah back to Arizona and her toils to begin the horse ranch her Daddy wanted. It continues through a horrible, loveless marriage, the birth of her daughter and death of her husband. It is there that Sarah thinks her life will end...but... Turner doesn't stop it there.

Woven through the tail is Captain Jack Elliot. He was army leader of the wagon train and seemed to catch Sarah's eye. He appears a time or two at her ranch - finally being rescued by Sarah after his horse had gone off a cliff and trapped him. The two love/hate/love/like each other, finally, coming together in a wonderful marriage of love and respect.

Sarah is the kind of woman I imagine I would have been back there in pioneer times. But, would I have been willing to fight off a crazed mountain man as a young girl, live through a marriage to a man in love with someone else, and brave an unknown life in the growing town of Tuscon. Probably not!

I was struck again and again at how hard these women had to work. I mean REALLY hard. Late in the story, when Sarah is wealthy, living in one of the largest houses in Tuscon she still has to slave over an a hot fire to do laundry, cook, heat water for baths... I am so happy to be able to push the button for the washer and crawl into a deep relaxing bath.

Turner has created a main character that I cared about and really wanted to know.
There are two other Sarah Prine books..Sarah's Quilt and The Star Garden. They are both in my shelves and hopefully soon on my bedside table!

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