Sarah has had a rough life as long as she can remember. She starts writing in a journal because she fears her dead body, along with the bodies of her family members, will be found out in the desert somewhere. She is writing her words down so people will know who they are.
As it turns out, Sarah and her family do not die in the desert, at least not all of them. Due to a couple of skirmishes with local hostile Native Americans, Sarah loses her father and little brother on an unprofitable wagon train journey.
Sarah is called upon to use both her riding skills and shooting skills to defend her family and friends. Sarah meets a solider on the wagon train back that takes a liking to her. The soldier infuriates her, but she does not know that he is deeply impressed with her.
Sarah’s family makes it to a place to settle. Sarah grows up some and marries a friend of the family, but none of it turns out as Sarah expects, luckily for her, life steps in the way and Sarah doesn’t have an overly long marriage to this man. Sarah does, however, now have a daughter and an entire ranch to take care of herself. Sarah does not let this get her down. She manages to take care of a ranch herself despite outlaws and Indians.
The soldier comes back into Sarah’s life and it turns out they like each other a little more than Sarah had first thought. The hard desert life brings Sarah a man who really loves her. Time goes on and Sarah has a family, always resenting the army and the way it takes her husband away from her. Her solider always seems to make it out alive by the skin of his teeth.
Good things happen and bad things happen and Sarah remains, as always, a strong desert woman.
What I liked
Settling any new place is hard work, settling the west was really hard work. There were hostile natives, who had a completely justified reason to be hostile. There was little water. There were people who saw the idea of a frontier as an easy way to be outlaws. The West was a rough place during the settling days. Stories like this one, help us remember how rough it really was.
My family is from out West, not during the settling times though. They lived in the east during the settling days of the West, but my family did take part in the settling days of the East, so don’t count us out; we’re a pretty tough family. I liked reading about Arizona in this book. It is a rough place, even still today, but not nearly as rough as it was then. It takes a special kind of person to live out West, in the desert, and be at home with it.
Sarah just does everything. She is the kind of woman we should all aspire to be. In my eyes, every woman she strive to be smart, talented, good-looking(whatever that definition may mean to herself), and tough. Sure, you could be a frilly woman, but knowing how to handle your own household and perform your own darn repairs can get you a long way as a woman. I admire Sarah a hundred percent more than the frilly sister-in-law that steps into her life at one point.
Sarah reminds me of my granny in a lot of ways. My granny didn’t go out and ride bareback and shoot game, but she is tough and she does know how to get things done. My granny also happened to live in Arizona for many years.
What I didn’t like
There is a lot of sorrow in this book, but that’s life. I didn’t like that Sarah lost so many people who were close to her. That is just awful. Losing a close family member can be a very devastating thing. It’s sad, but you also lose the type of experiences you would have had with that person.
Sarah lost her father at a young age, much like I did, and I get why Sarah is sad about it. She’s sad to have lost her father, but she’s also sad that she doesn’t have a father to do fatherly things for her. All the other children her age probably have dads and they probably have the comfort of knowing they have a dad they can depend on. Sarah doesn’t have that. I get how difficult that is.
Nancy can write an amazing story. She brings the settling days of the West to life.
Do you think you could have been a settler in the West?
Do you think Sarah would have ever been happy with a more refined lifestyle?