Turner, Nancy E. "These is my Words, The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901" - 1999
The story is based on the life of the author's grandmother, a courageous and clever woman, who taught herself to read as a teenager and was a pretty independent woman. Her story is told in the style of a diary, starting when she is 17 in 1881. It's a love story as well as a tale of the struggle people, especially women, went through in the early beginnings of the settlings in America. There are so many different stories in this book, it could have been a whole series. It's a historical novel about life on the American frontier with a lot of detail.
This story is told with a lot of heart, the characters come alive, the history is very vivid. A wonderful book.
I have read this book several times, once with my first book club ever, in England, once with my international book club who voted it best book of the year.
We discussed this in our book club in October 2003.
From the back 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."
Nancy has continued the account of her grandmoter's life with "Sarah's Quilt. A Novel of Sarah Agnes Prine and the Arizona Territories, 1906" and "The Star Garden".
If you like her books, you might want to try "The Water and the Blood", as well.