*My personal affiliate links are used in this post.*
If you’re my friend on Facebook, then you know I loved reading this book! It’s These is my Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901 by Nancy E. Turner.
These is my Words: Book Review
This fictional novel is loosely based upon the author’s real great-grandmother Sarah Prine who lived in the Arizona Territory. The book is written from Sarah’s perspective, in journal format, covering the years 1881-1901, from when she’s 16-36 years old.
The story is often dramatic, especially in the very beginning! Indians, hunger, disease, childbirth, rape, death, shooting contests, and little money all in the first few pages. The book kept me entertained from start to finish. Life on a territory is not easy! I liked the journal format, as I have been an avid journal keeper since I was about 12 years old too.
I really felt myself identifying with Sarah Prine. While I certainly haven’t faced anything near the hardships she faced in her life, I related to how she felt. She didn’t view herself like her Puritan sister-in-law, who was pious, caring, and such a loving wife, and knew she would probably never become like her, even though at one part of the book she was trying very hard to, trying to become more “lady-like” in order to get a good husband. But, Sarah was such a strong woman, shooting guns better than her brothers. She did not shirk hard work and worked hard all her days. There was one entry that really stood out to. In it she described how she was surrounded by her family, those who loved her, yet she still felt alone, and wondered if anyone else ever felt like that, to which I was screaming, “Yes!”
The best part of the book of course is the romance. It really is a beautiful love story, though with a heartache of a first marriage first. I won’t spoil what happens there, but it’s so tragic on so many levels. But, the man she ends up falling for is Captain Jack Elliot. He’s quite the complex character it seems, with a very hard, military exterior, and never-giving up spirit, but then with his mild-mannered, sensitive and strong love for Sarah. There love affair is hilarious at times as Sarah refuses his advances time and again because “soldiers are not fit for marrying,” and she’s often confused by his actions. It’s great. But, when they do finally get together, it is beautiful! It reminded me in a small way of my marriage with my dear husband, because he adores me, but still teases me mercilessly sometimes, but is also very supportive of what I want to do.
The good news too, is that the writing in the book does not actually contain quite the horrible level of English skills as the title conveys, so have no fear English-language purist friends! You won’t be cringing the whole time. Actually, Sarah through the course of the book, reads loads of books and becomes quite educated. Sarah is really quite the feminist of her day. She starts her own soap making business, runs her ranch business, shoots like a man, reads, writes, and takes her children’s education seriously. And she still even cooked wonderful meals and kept a clean house. Pretty much, she’s amazing and I wish she was a real person (she’s based on one, but it’s really fiction).
I loved this book and give it 5/5 stars. I feel I would read this book again, which is something I rarely say.
I hope you guys enjoy it too! Let me know what you think! Have you read it before?