Recommendation: I do recommend this book. It is long, and it took me a few chapters to really get in to the story, but after awhile I couldn't put it down. It didn't get boring at any point. I really enjoyed reading it.
Overview: I don't read many pioneer/homesteading kind of books. This isn't my usual genre. It is not about LDS settlers. It is a fictional diary.
It is sad, lots of bad things happen. But it is not a boo hoo story.
What I liked: This is definetly a hard luck story. I guess all pioneer books are. I liked the main character, Sarah. (Colby might be irritated that she is good at everything and doesn't know why a man would love her.) The author does a great job using the diary format. I like that although horrible things happen, its not written overly sentimental. The lapse in dates and entries help you get a feel for her life. The entries are written, I think, realistically....of course no one really writes that much in their diary. I think you can really see Sarah's growth.
I loved the focus on reading and education. I loved the way children are valued in this story. The excitment each feels when they learn they are expecting. There were so many tender entries about Sarah's children and her love for them. I loved that for the most part the men are good. The main characters are moral and upright.
The romance is the best part. I liked Captain Elliot. I think it was cool how the author let his history unfold slowly. I loved when Sarah found the books and how they changed her life.
What I didn't like: I think some parts are just hard to believe. Maybe its because this was set over 200 years ago. But really, if your sister's husband is a creep you wouldn't tell her?
I just have such a hard time with the way things aren't talked about. Why didn't anyone express to her that they held Captain Elliot in high esteem when she was worried about him being a soldier and not proper? Also, I know Sarah is young and not schooled in the ways of romance, but I think she wouldn't be as clueless about peoples feelings and intentions if she was a real person. The way she interacted with the "old biddies" on the train was much more realistic.
I think the book is fairly predictable, you can figure out what is going to happen. BUT the way things happen and when they happen is more of a surprise. So it didn't really bother me.
I believe that the author did her reasearch, and I don't know much about the "territories" during this time, so I don't have historical issues. I just sometimes wonder if things really were that different.
Final Note: I don't know why I read this when Graham was out of town. As if I don't already have a hard time sleeping when I'm alone. I started getting the feeling that people would know I was alone and I had no way to protect myself and my kids from banditos. Really.