These is my Words (The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901) by Nancy E. Turner
(Summary taken from the back book cover) “A moving, exciting, and heartfelt American saga inspired by the author’s own family memoirs, these words belong to Sarah Prine, a woman of spirit and fire who forges a full and remarkable existence in a harsh, unfamiliar frontier. Scrupulously recording her steps down the path Providence has set her upon–from child to determined young adult to loving mother–she shares the turbulent events, both joyous and tragic, that molded her, and recalls the enduring love with cavalry officer Captain Jack Elliot that gave her strength and purpose. Rich in authentic everyday details and alive with truly unforgettable characters, These Is My Words brilliantly brings a vanished world to breathtaking life again.”
Amazing, incredible, emotional, tragic, unforgettable. Yes, these are words I will use to describe this book. I don’t give very many five star ratings, but this book deserves it all the way. I absolutely love this book! It has just become one of my all-time favorite books. I love Ms. Turner’s writing style because it draws the reader in and puts you right in the heart of the story. I felt as if I were reading the diary of my great-great grandmother, or someone who would be very dear to me. I felt as if I knew each character intimately and felt each one’s joy, sorrow, pain, and fear. Sarah, especially, became a very dear friend. I laughed with her, cried (and sobbed) with her, felt her fear and frustration, and at the same time gained from her strength. I know there must have been women like her living in that time period in the western United States, and it is humbling to know how much they dealt with. It also made me feel very grateful and spoiled for all that I have. I really wish she were a real person because we need more examples of strong women, with a hard work ethic, who overcome tragedy and rise above their difficult circumstances. We need more courage and less whining. I loved that she was “real.” Even though she was amazing, she still had her bad days. She lost her temper every so often, she cried, she complained occasionally, but she stood back up and did what needed to be done. I related to her as a mother. Even though I don’t have to round-up cattle or kill my own dinner, I am busy with other things, and it is good to know that if she can do it then I can too. I also loved reading about the relationship between Sarah and Jack (and Albert and Savannah as well). It definitely made me thankful for my husband and made me want to work on being a little more romantic. I also decided I should write in my own diary just a little more than I do. There were a few times she would go a year or so before her next entry and I would be upset…..what happened in that year that I didn’t get to hear about??
I highly recommend this book. Let me warn you of a few things, though. In the first 30 pages about half the main characters die. Also, there is a rape scene and murders. This is not a “happy” book. It is sad and depressing at times. There is a lot of violence with Indians and some scary characters. There is some language. Times were different back then. I am so grateful it’s not that way now. These events are what make Sarah who she is. They are not pretty, but they are what they are. Don’t let this scare you away, it is a must-read! I highly recommend this book.
Rating: R (Remember, this does not necessarily follow the movie ratings, it is just my way of saying that it is NOT for younger readers.) Language, violence, death, murder, rape.
Recommendation: 18 and up.