Inspired by the author’s original family memoirs, this absorbing story introduces us to the questing, indomitable Sarah Prine, one of the most memorable women ever to survive and prevail in the Arizona Territory of the late 1800s. As a child, a fiery young woman, and finally a caring mother, Sarah forges a life as full and fascinating as our deepest needs, our most secret hopes, and our grandest dreams. She rides Indian-style and shoots with deadly aim, greedily devours a treasure trove of leatherbound books, dreams of scarlet velvet and pearls, falls uneasily in love, and faces down fire, flood, Comanche raids, and other mortal perils with the unique courage that forged the character of the American West. This action-packed novel is also the story of a powerful, enduring love between Sarah and the dashing cavalry officer Captain Jack Elliot. Neither the vast distances traveled nor the harsh and killing terrains could quench the passion between them, and the loss and loneliness both suffer only strengthen their need for each other. Sarah’s story leads us into a vanished world that comes vividly to life again, while her struggles with work and home, love and responsibility resonate with those every woman faces today.
People close to me will tell you that I rave about many books being my favorite, but I have to honestly admit that this book is my absolute favorite! This is the book I turn to when I need a lift. This one is just the cherry on top! It is rare for a book to have me crying and laughing out loud, often on the same page. This is great historical fiction of a tough life in territorial Arizona. The first few pages are very descriptive of that time period, so the beginning is a little rough and depressing. I love that I felt like I was reading my grandmother’s journal, and watching firsthand how Sarah grows and improves not only her English, but her situation in life. Not often will you find a character you will so quickly identify with, and fall in love with. In this book, there are two such characters: Sarah Prine and Jack Elliot.
I loved that Sarah had a fierce independence and a softer, nurturing side. I found myself admiring her as she struggled to find balance as a wife, mother, and ranch owner, and continued to make time to become more educated to achieve a life-long dream. I loved her quote: “Living is getting knocked down time and again, then standing up time and again, and once more. It’s easy to act honorable when things are coming along and all your pastures are green. Plenty difficult when the ground is dried and burned and people have connived to take even that from you. I’ll sell this place, or I’ll lose it. I’ll go on. People who don’t have hard times aren’t living.”
I love the story of Sarah and Jack, and how it shows their love through the ups and downs of life. Jack is a man who is stubborn in being himself–who accepts Sarah for who she is and finds all her imperfections endearing. My heart melted again and again reading of his tenderness toward Sarah. Readers will quickly fall in love with him as he comes to Sarah’s physical and mental rescue time and time again!
Another favorite line, from Sarah: “My life feels like a book left out on the porch, and the wind blows the pages faster and faster, turning always toward a new chapter faster than I can stop to read it.”
Amazing book! I think every woman will relate to Sarah!