These Is My Words
By Nancy Turner
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.
Whew, what a summary, right? Obviously too wordy to have been written by the author who has an obvious talent for getting across subtle nuance and characterization with an impressive efficiency of words. One of the most impressive (among many) things about this novel is the entire thing is written as Sarah's journal. What could easily be gimmicky and contrived, is instead engaging and transparant.
But, even more than a talented writer, you're in for a moving and powerful story. Seriously, everyone I know LOVES this book! Be forewarned, the first few chapters are emotionally draining, but then it levels out a bit. This is one of my all-time favorites!
5/5 stars! (Can I give it 10/5 stars?) :)