Book Review: These is My Words by Nancy E. Turner

These is My Words
The DIARY of
Sarah Agnes Prine
1881 to 1901
By Nancy E. Turner

We meet Sarah Agnes Prine as she and her family travel with a wagon train to the dry and barren land known as the Arizona Territories. Despite the rigors of the trail, Sarah takes time to record events in her life in her journal beginning in 1881 when she is 17. Along the trail her father and little brother die, she shoots and kills 2 men in order to protect her friends from assault, her mother withdraws from life and Sarah becomes the parent, and on top of this, they run into unfriendly Indians on more than one occasion. She is strong and determined, has an active faith in God, tries to do the right thing, and is a crack shot with a rifle. She loves to read. The leader of the wagon train is a US Cavalry officer, Captain Jack Elliot. He is tough, rude, and he keeps a favorite book of Sarah’s and won’t return it. In spite of his faults, he is a good leader.

Settling in the Arizona Territories is no picnic. Her oldest brother and his wife and Sarah start building homes close to each other. The weather is harsh, the land is dry, but they manage to establish ranches. Sarah marries Jimmie Reed, a family friend, and they start a family. When Jimmie dies, Sarah is determined to keep the horse ranch going. Though she thought she was rid of the troublesome Captain Jack Elliot once she and her family left the wagon train, he shows up here and there, creating trouble for her. To find out how Sarah survives, you must read her journal (the book) through to the end.

The author did a wonderful job of portraying pioneer life and the vernacular of Sarah, who never went to school, was authentic. Sarah is sweet, sassy, and determined. In fact, Ms. Turner’s character is really based on her great grandmother, Sarah Agnes Prine, who lived during the time period of this novel, and was a pioneer in Arizona. I loved this book and it is a keeper. It has found a home on my bookshelf. The novel was recommended as one of the reads for our women’s book club. I would give this book a definite 5 of 5 stars.

Have you curled up with a good book lately? Happy Reading!

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