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These Is My Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901, Arizona Territories

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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 th 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.


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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 th 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.

30 review for These Is My Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901, Arizona Territories

  1. 5 out of 5

    Brookann

    I was completely taken by this book! The library fines are racking up because it is overdue and I can't renew it because it has been requested by someone else, but I can't let it go because I find myself going back to it to reread passages and "reliving" moments of the book in my mind. I shed many a tear and towards the end was so enraged I almost threw the book, but I simply cannot stop thinking about it! I'm dying to discuss it with someone. It is the beautiful and heartbreaking story of a woma I was completely taken by this book! The library fines are racking up because it is overdue and I can't renew it because it has been requested by someone else, but I can't let it go because I find myself going back to it to reread passages and "reliving" moments of the book in my mind. I shed many a tear and towards the end was so enraged I almost threw the book, but I simply cannot stop thinking about it! I'm dying to discuss it with someone. It is the beautiful and heartbreaking story of a woman growing up in the Arizona Territories in the late 1800s written as accounts from her diary (based on the memoirs of the author's great-grandmother). I was captivated by the hardships and struggles that she endured just to survive - Indians, robbers, wild animals and the elements to name a few. I felt worlds away from that life, wondering if I could have done it, if I myself had the same kind of strength and courage that Sarah exhibits. And yet I watched her grapple with the same issues I deal with every day - love and heartache, the joy and exhaustion that come from motherhood, wanting to do it all and all at once - and I realized that although times and circumstances may vary greatly, a woman's heart remains largely the same.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    This is, UNEQUIVOCALLY, the best love story I have read. I devoured this book -- I simply could not put it down. The beginning was gritty, heart-wrenching, and a grammatical mess. Yet, this is part of the author's brilliance. As the main character, Sarah, matures, she is strengthened by her experiences. And as Sarah educates herself at every opportunity, the grammar and story-telling improve. Without giving anything away, I cannot put into words the romance between Sarah and Captain Jack Elliott. This is, UNEQUIVOCALLY, the best love story I have read. I devoured this book -- I simply could not put it down. The beginning was gritty, heart-wrenching, and a grammatical mess. Yet, this is part of the author's brilliance. As the main character, Sarah, matures, she is strengthened by her experiences. And as Sarah educates herself at every opportunity, the grammar and story-telling improve. Without giving anything away, I cannot put into words the romance between Sarah and Captain Jack Elliott. Let me just say, dear reader, you will be quite satisfied with this one. Empowerment, motherhood, family, trials, adventure, loss, and love - all of these themes are woven into the story, and I found that many of the questions asked, struggles endured, and doubts born throughout Sarah's life transcend time and place. This will be the book I recommend to anyone asking the rest of the year. Truly one of the best books out there!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Annalisa

    The reason I loved this book comes down to one word: authenticity. I bought into this woman's life and believed these characters. I have this vivid picture in my mind of this ranch out in the middle of nowhere with Sarah out there putting laundry on the line with a pistol tucked in her rugged apron. I don't like western movies or get into frontier stories and was worried, especially by the title, that the grammar would rake on my nerves. But the story is about a thirst for education as much as a The reason I loved this book comes down to one word: authenticity. I bought into this woman's life and believed these characters. I have this vivid picture in my mind of this ranch out in the middle of nowhere with Sarah out there putting laundry on the line with a pistol tucked in her rugged apron. I don't like western movies or get into frontier stories and was worried, especially by the title, that the grammar would rake on my nerves. But the story is about a thirst for education as much as anything else and as Sarah learns, her writing improves. It may be rare to find a woman in the late 1800s who wants to go to college, considers women on the same level as men and doesn't want a man to care for her, and treats Mexicans and Indians as her own white neighbors, but there is enough 19th-century humility, morality, and territory toughness to keep her era appropriate. Unlike Little House on the Prairie with obvious '80s-era actors fighting against stigmas of the day, I found Sarah to be the perfect frontier woman, a little forward thinking, but just enough to make her yearning add to her perfection. We find all kinds of characters in the book: Indians, Army men, ranchers, Mexicans, Quakers, spoiled Easterners, foreigners, even polygamist Mormons, all minor characters splattered throughout Sarah's life to give us a feel for the type of people around the territories in those days. Mingled with the mundane, which I found interesting, was enough excitement, like Indian attacks and the danger of women alone, to make me want to keep reading. It gave me the sense of how fragile life could be with attacks, childbirth, disease, and nature. Turner did a fantastic job of giving us a picture of life on the early frontier without making it feel like she's teaching us what life on the early frontier is like. You find out the chore it is to cook a long meal and put together a bath without running water because Sarah is exasperated without any help. Through Sarah's commentary we learn about housing conditions, cattle herding, adjusting and making clothes, mail and bank systems, conditions on wagon trains, and even conjugal issues with whispered conversations with Savannah. These were my favorite, especially Savannah's Quaker rigidness strictly against kissing before marriage. Occasionally, like the article describing their new home with indoor plumbing, I felt pulled out of the story with the intention clear to educate on the times more than describe Sarah's life, but overall the description felt like Sarah's life and not overview. The other authentic aspect of the book that I loved was the love story. Not your unrealistic perfect man who can do no wrong which creates a man who is overbearing or too emotionally unrealistic. No, this is a real-life love story about a relationship that makes you crazy mad and impatient at the same time. Love through the ups and downs of life. A man who is stubborn in being himself but even though he understands her better than herself, requires her not to change either, who just wants to be with her and finds all her imperfections endearing. It's the guy who may be a little rough on the outside, not the one who knows just how to smooth talk his way into your heart, who will treat you like gold. I really enjoyed their story, and the suffering and learning she had to go through to get there. The perfect combination of excitement and believability to make me want to read the story and feel that it could really have happened.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Candi

    "A storm is rolling in, and that always makes me a little sad and wistful so I got it in my head to set to paper all these things that have got us this far on our way through this heathen land. Its been a sorrowful journey so far and hard and so if we don’t get to San Angelo or even as far as Fort Hancock I am saving this little theme in my cigar box for some wandering travelers to find and know whose bones these is." I was so eager to read this book, described as a “heartfelt American saga” whic "A storm is rolling in, and that always makes me a little sad and wistful so I got it in my head to set to paper all these things that have got us this far on our way through this heathen land. Its been a sorrowful journey so far and hard and so if we don’t get to San Angelo or even as far as Fort Hancock I am saving this little theme in my cigar box for some wandering travelers to find and know whose bones these is." I was so eager to read this book, described as a “heartfelt American saga” which is set in the Arizona Territories during the late 1800s. Then I opened and began to read the first several pages and was instantly struck by a feeling of doom. So much misery and suffering – how could I possibly get through this? But, at the same time, I was immediately drawn to Sarah’s voice as she shares her tale through a series of journal entries. I just had to know her story and learn what would become of her during these difficult times. After all, it would not have made much sense if her life was breezy and carefree. Then she lightened the load for me a bit by throwing in some wit. I became attached to Sarah, her family and the charismatic Captain Jack Elliott. I was entranced by the landscape and was lured by the sense of adventure. In short, I was hooked. Sarah is truly a memorable character. Feisty, hard-working and hungry for learning, she perseveres in a formidable and unforgiving frontier. I loved her yearning to read and write. She begins as an uneducated young girl with a dream to someday attend school. Her journal writing is at first unrefined. As she begins to acquire and read books, she little by little advances her own education and her writing becomes more polished, though it never loses its spirit. When she meets Captain Jack Elliot, she is maddened by him and his sense of authority. "That man makes me feel like I have my bonnet on backwards." He has something of hers that she wants back – a precious book about a “scarlet velvet woman”. Thus begins a lifelong “battle” to get the book back and a delightful relationship between a determined young woman, whom the Captain calls “The General”, and a courageous and honorable leader of men. "Captain Elliot has this recklessness about him, and a way of holding on that you don’t know he is holding on, and a way of laughing that is like he takes pleasure in the act of laughing itself. He is better to have around in a scrap than a trained wildcat, though." This book shares with us the everyday life of those that struggled to make a place for themselves in a world filled with the unknown, the threat of conflicts arising between the Native Americans and the settlers, the risk of childbirth, scanty resources, and the danger of the surrounding wildlife. What I most admired in Sarah was her acceptance of others. She travelled and then lived side by side and in peace with people of skin color and religion different from her own – the Chinese, the Mexicans, the Native Americans. Her best friend was a Quaker while Sarah herself was a bit contrary when it came to “churchgoing”. What she could not tolerate was ignorance, not the unschooled variety but that of insensitivity and crudeness. She grew to understand some words of wisdom which were once spoken to her - "Education doesn’t keep a person from being a fool, and the lack of it doesn’t keep a person from being intelligent." I strongly recommend this book to anyone that is interested in learning more about life on the frontier with characters that will touch your heart. The story is simply told with some lovely quotes that really shined for me. Don’t forget the box of tissues. "Sometimes I feel like a tree on a hill, at the place where all the wind blows and the hail hits the hardest. All the people I love are down the side a ways, sheltered under a great rock, and I am out of the fold, standing alone in the sun and the snow. I feel like I am not part of the rest somehow, although they welcome me and are kind. I see my family as they sit together and it is like they have a certain way between them that is beyond me. I wonder if other folks ever feel included yet alone."

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jan

    "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 and read it." I avidly enjoyed These Is My Words by Nancy Turner! Turner did a wonderful job capturing a very vivid picture of Sarah Prine, and of the people and conditions of this period in the Arizona Territory. Turner's writing makes you feel like you are actually there, and making the trek along with Sarah. These Is My Words is a wonderf "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 and read it." I avidly enjoyed These Is My Words by Nancy Turner! Turner did a wonderful job capturing a very vivid picture of Sarah Prine, and of the people and conditions of this period in the Arizona Territory. Turner's writing makes you feel like you are actually there, and making the trek along with Sarah. These Is My Words is a wonderful, exciting story of the hard pioneer life, written as diary entries based on author Nancy Turner's own ancestor, Sarah Agnes Prine, from the time she is 17, in 1881, to 1901 in the Arizona Territory. Sarah is humble, witty, and full of grit and resilience; and... SHE JUST CAPTURED MY HEART! ♡ Sarah is strong ...loving...competent... never gives up...and as fiercely determined a young woman as there ever was; who edures many hardships and perseveres through it all! I admire how Sarah always hungers to learn, reading anything and everything she gets her hands on! Writing down her daily adventures as she makes her way towards homesteading in Arizona, her writing improves each day. Sarah also runs a ranch, wrangles the cattle, shoots well, has a soap making business, AND lovingly takes care of her children! "A nice girl doesn't go anywhere without a loaded gun and a big knife." And then there is the tall, handsome Calvary Captain, Jack Elliot and LOVE ensues! They are both very strong and different people, but also very good together. He drove her CRAZY... with love! "I don't have any use for a man that isn't stubborn. Likely a stubborn fellow will stay with you through thick and thin, and a spineless one will take off, or let his heart wander." "Taking up marriage is a good excuse for taking up cursing, I think." I loved seeing how this story unfolded, and rooted for Sarah as the heroine! I cried from the heartache of much tragedy, and the joys of love! I am always fascinated by the courageous pioneers who settled our American West, and this is a wonderful historical fiction that does a marvelous job of depicting this! I'm giving this book 4.5 Stars! Sarah and Jack will stay with me for a long time to come! I Recommend this book to all!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Her Royal Orangeness

    Not only does the book sound intriguing, but the ratings on Goodreads are amazing - the average rating is 4.45 and 56% of readers gave it 5 Stars. Apparently I read a different book. The basic plot of the first half of the book is: Horrible things happen! Awful things happen! She meets a man!! Terrible things happen! Dreadful things happen! The man kisses her!!! And it's all executed in a flat, shallow, and BORING style. A lot of action and no psychological depth. In the second half of the book, th Not only does the book sound intriguing, but the ratings on Goodreads are amazing - the average rating is 4.45 and 56% of readers gave it 5 Stars. Apparently I read a different book. The basic plot of the first half of the book is: Horrible things happen! Awful things happen! She meets a man!! Terrible things happen! Dreadful things happen! The man kisses her!!! And it's all executed in a flat, shallow, and BORING style. A lot of action and no psychological depth. In the second half of the book, things degenerate to the point that the book is like a bodice ripper written by a 16 year old - all heaving bosoms and thundering heartbeats. Sentences like, "Then he held out his hand towards me and said, 'Come here, my love, and tell me you love me true.'" (gag, gag, gag) And this! this particular sentence made me simultaneously laugh out loud and throw the book across the room: "Jack kissed me until my lips were swollen and my throat was dry as cotton, and kissed the scar on my breast, whispering A little sugar to make the owey all better." Howling laughter! How do you write the words "breast" and "owey" in the same sentence and not realize it's utterly absurd? Gah, this book is just BAD!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    I debated between 2 and 4 stars, but after all is said and done I wouldn't recommend the book to my friends, so it came down to 2. As for reading enjoyment and ability to hold my interest, this book gets a 5. However, the first 30 pages contain enough trauma to send any woman to a pyschiatrist for years! Rape, murder, tragic child deaths, Indian attacks, attempted abduction, etc. It was a bit too much for me to handle. Although the description says "inspired by the author's grandmother", very li I debated between 2 and 4 stars, but after all is said and done I wouldn't recommend the book to my friends, so it came down to 2. As for reading enjoyment and ability to hold my interest, this book gets a 5. However, the first 30 pages contain enough trauma to send any woman to a pyschiatrist for years! Rape, murder, tragic child deaths, Indian attacks, attempted abduction, etc. It was a bit too much for me to handle. Although the description says "inspired by the author's grandmother", very little of the story is based on fact. When I first started reading it I was floored that so much happened to one woman. After some research I found out that it wasn't the case, the tragedies had nothing to do with her grandmother. And while I had read many true life histories and am aware that some pioneer women had very traumatic lives, this one goes a little over the top.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tweety

    After my heart stops hurting I'll write a review, it takes time when you've just fallen off a cliff. I think I can write it now I will admit something here and now. Before I read a book I always read the dedication. This book is dedicated To everyone who has ever stood on a hill in a storm That caught my interest really quick and then, six pages in I came across this passage. What can I say? I was hooked. And you know what? I've never even seen a Cottenwood, but Sarah showed it to me. Page 6: After my heart stops hurting I'll write a review, it takes time when you've just fallen off a cliff. I think I can write it now I will admit something here and now. Before I read a book I always read the dedication. This book is dedicated To everyone who has ever stood on a hill in a storm That caught my interest really quick and then, six pages in I came across this passage. What can I say? I was hooked. And you know what? I've never even seen a Cottenwood, but Sarah showed it to me. Page 6: A cottenwood makes a little sound with the leaves like they are talking to each other, a gentle and soft sound. In the fall they turn yellow and copper and the ground under the cottenwood looks like it is covered with pennies. Under our cottenwood back home I used to collect the pennies and pretend I was rich. One time I sewed them onto a bonnet to be pretty, but they dried out and fell off. (Golden cottonwood trees reflect in Palm Lake) Found at http://wildinarizona.com/wordpress/?t... Whet I loved about Sarah is she was Sassy, Bossy and Strong. But she wasn't the "I can do it all myself so I don't need you" type. I truly admired her, even if I think she made a few foolish mistakes. This quote give you an idea of what she's like. Page 166: "I wonder if Jack Elliott is with them. We keep our eyes on the horizon and our guns loaded. Yes sir, watch your back, bullets are flying. She was so easy to like, and Jack was perfect for her. I'm sure she could have been happy with someone else, but they complemented each other like no one else could have. In the Synopsis it said they were as romantic as Rhett Butler and Scarlet O'Hara. They were so much more. Jack was one of the sweetest heroes I have ever read about, the book wouldn't have been the same without him. He was near perfect. He lightened the dark places and created the bright cheery moments. His kind gestures and quiet ways of showing love to his wife and children won me over to his side, I never want to read about Sarah being with anyone else. Can you picture Rhett Butler marrying anyone but Scarlet? I should think not! So now I must say one thing I Hated about this book… (read the spoiler if you want to know about the HEA) *Spoiler* Before I end this let me tell you that was a darned cruel way to end the book. I Will Never, Ever, Ever reread the last thirty pages. Everytime I think about it I tear up. If you want a HEA you better stop on page 357, after the entry June 9, 1893 When you get to August 22 everything, absolutely everything goes downhill. On future rereads I will end the book on a happy note and make up my own ending. And you can bet it will be worlds beter than this ending was. Talk about a Tear Jerker! :/ I'm off to read a Georgette Heyer book, maybe she will cheer me up. *End of Spoiler* A Strong PG-13. One character is raped, (we do not see all of this but it is none the less disturbing), another character is almost raped and there are multiple murders. Also, Sarah's wedding night is mentioned, however it's respectfully done. Savannah and Sarah mention "how to not get pregnant again", but there aren't any details. If I didn't already own this, I would be off to get my own copy. So, if you can get passed the violence in the first forty pages, you will uncover a gem. (Or at least, I did) Also, if you've read and loved Mrs. Mike you'll love this

  9. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I try not to be too generous when I give out 5 stars and I try to give them out to only the books that truly deserve them in my opinion. “These is My Words” is a book that I thought deserved 5 stars from the first 50 pages or so. It is a story about Sarah Prine who is sixteen when the story starts out growing up in the 1880’s in the Arizona Territories. It is in a journal format. At first Sarah’s grammar is not so good and it is somewhat difficult to read but as the story progresses her grammar I try not to be too generous when I give out 5 stars and I try to give them out to only the books that truly deserve them in my opinion. “These is My Words” is a book that I thought deserved 5 stars from the first 50 pages or so. It is a story about Sarah Prine who is sixteen when the story starts out growing up in the 1880’s in the Arizona Territories. It is in a journal format. At first Sarah’s grammar is not so good and it is somewhat difficult to read but as the story progresses her grammar gets better and I was completely pulled into the story and so engrossed in the fascinating life of a girl in the 1880’s. Throughout the book Sarah has some very difficult trials and also some very sweet experiences. The love story that takes place in it was truly a delight to read and made my heart swoon at times because of how romantic and exciting it was for Sarah to find her true love. My two complaints about the book is that it seemed extra long and there was a sad ending. But after I thought about my complaints they turned to positive points. If Nancy would have ended the book at about half way through the book, I would have been satisfied with the story. But she continued the story to show what happened after the love story took place when usually books end when the main characters have fallen in love. It was special to see their love grow through the years and see their family develop. The sad ending made me mad at first but life is sad sometimes and it is how we deal with those sad things that make us stronger people. Life can be happy and wonderful even though we experience hard trials.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rachelle

    This is pretty much my favorite book I've ever read along with it's sequel Sarah's Quilt. First of all, it is a beautiful love story. I cried so much. Any book that makes me feel really emotional, I consider to be a good book. But it is also an incredible tale of determination and down right stubborness. I love that Sarah learned to read, loved learning and by so doing changed her life. I love the way she endured challenges. I want to read it again so I can put more details in here. ************ This is pretty much my favorite book I've ever read along with it's sequel Sarah's Quilt. First of all, it is a beautiful love story. I cried so much. Any book that makes me feel really emotional, I consider to be a good book. But it is also an incredible tale of determination and down right stubborness. I love that Sarah learned to read, loved learning and by so doing changed her life. I love the way she endured challenges. I want to read it again so I can put more details in here. ************ I have since reread this book many many times. I go to it whenever I am in need of a really good love story. After many readings... I definitely have to say that Sarah is one of my all-time favorite heroines. She honestly pops into my head all of the time. When I am feeling grumbly about too much laundry to do I think of Sarah doing her wash by hand in 100+ degree weather. When I don't feel like cooking dinner I remember how Sarah had to catch her chicken and kill it before she could even get dinner started. LOL!! When Aaron is out of town and I feel lonely.. I remember that Sarah went months without Jack and then he'd be gone again in a week. But they loved so fiercely and never wasted the time they did have. She is tough, but not unhappy. She finds her peace in the quiet moments that are so rare but so precious. Overall it's inspiring, beautiful and sad and heartbreaking all in one. I love it.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    I totally DID NOT want to read this book, but did for a book group. I loved it. It reminded me of my grandma who grew up AZ and the crazy, hard life that she had. I remember feeling like she was kind of strange, uneducated, and maybe a little scary because she was so tough... she had like 18 inch biceps-- we are talking strong. She was just so different from my other very educated,very classy, rich grandma that I was close to growing up. After reading this book I really wished I would have taken I totally DID NOT want to read this book, but did for a book group. I loved it. It reminded me of my grandma who grew up AZ and the crazy, hard life that she had. I remember feeling like she was kind of strange, uneducated, and maybe a little scary because she was so tough... she had like 18 inch biceps-- we are talking strong. She was just so different from my other very educated,very classy, rich grandma that I was close to growing up. After reading this book I really wished I would have taken the time to get to know her and appreciate her stories that were truly unfathomable to me. It made me feel proud that I have her blood in mine... that maybe I can be a combination of both incredible grandma's, refined yet strong.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Dem

    These is my words by Nancy E. Turner is the "Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901 Arizona Territories. The blurb on this book reads " The classic adventure of one courageous woman's life struggles in the Arizona Territories in the late nineteenth century, A moving exciting and heartfelt American saga inspired by the authors’ own family memoirs, these words belong to Sarah Prine a woman of spirit and fire who forges a full remarkable existence in a harsh unfamiliar frontier" I was really looking These is my words by Nancy E. Turner is the "Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901 Arizona Territories. The blurb on this book reads " The classic adventure of one courageous woman's life struggles in the Arizona Territories in the late nineteenth century, A moving exciting and heartfelt American saga inspired by the authors’ own family memoirs, these words belong to Sarah Prine a woman of spirit and fire who forges a full remarkable existence in a harsh unfamiliar frontier" I was really looking forward to this novel but the first 50 pages of the book really had me wondering would I actually throw in the towel on this one as there was so much death and tragedy it was difficult to believe so I took some time out and did a little research to see how much of this story was fact and how much was fiction, and I was so disappointed to learn that very little of this book was actually based on fact and while it is inspired by the authors grandmother, the book is mostly fiction. I had thought this book was a true account of Agnes prine and therefore was very disappointed. Perhaps if I had realised when purchasing that it was mostly fiction I would have approached the story differently and therefore engaged better with this book. This book has amazing reviews and perhaps I am missing something else about this story but for me this novel was over written and I never got to feel the setting of the book or the characters and felt the plot was predictable. For me this was a long 384 pages.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This got off to a slow start for me, and I didn't care for the pacing at the beginning. However, I grew to love this take-no-prisoners, kick-tail female protagonist, and this ended up being an apropos list for an election week that left me reeling.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    I probably would not have finished this book if I were not reading it for book club. I enjoyed reading it at times, but mostly, I was trying not to roll my eyes and just appreciate that it was Nancy Turner's first novel and it's good for a first shot (although I have read some incredible first novels before). The book is about a woman growing up in the Arizona territories and is written in diary format. The Good: It's a nice historical novel that really makes you get what life was like then and I probably would not have finished this book if I were not reading it for book club. I enjoyed reading it at times, but mostly, I was trying not to roll my eyes and just appreciate that it was Nancy Turner's first novel and it's good for a first shot (although I have read some incredible first novels before). The book is about a woman growing up in the Arizona territories and is written in diary format. The Good: It's a nice historical novel that really makes you get what life was like then and there. It was a fast and engaging read. The romance was nice and the women characters were wonderful. I was worried there would be a cheesy ending, but the ending made sense and saved the book from total cheesiness. The Bad: I think diary format is cheating a little. The entries were unrealistic as diary entries and not well-crafted prose for a narrative. There are so many parts that cross over into cliche and often the book seemed like it was a romance novel disguised as historical fiction (neither of which are genres I like). I thought all the characters were two-dimentional although I do appreciate what the author does with Sarah, making her strong and independent, yet honest and vulnerable. Most of the language didn't make sense for the time and place the book was supposed to be written in--I don't get why the title is misspelled as most of the book is near perfect grammar. I think the author takes a lot of liberties with the history of the region and also infuses modern ideology onto her characters. I do understand why a lot of people like this book because it IS a beautiful and timeless story, but I am one of these readers that cannot get over bad writing to appreciate even the most touching story.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lucy

    Way back in the day, before I had ever joined a book group, before the world knew about blogging and before I began keeping track of the books with reviews, I read a book I loved called These Is My Words. I know I loved it all those years ago, and have told countless friends and acquaintances to read it based on that memory of loving it but, if you want to know the truth, the details about the story have become...err....a bit sketchy. Oh, I remembered that it involved pioneers and a romance and a Way back in the day, before I had ever joined a book group, before the world knew about blogging and before I began keeping track of the books with reviews, I read a book I loved called These Is My Words. I know I loved it all those years ago, and have told countless friends and acquaintances to read it based on that memory of loving it but, if you want to know the truth, the details about the story have become...err....a bit sketchy. Oh, I remembered that it involved pioneers and a romance and a woman whose English skills improved with time, but beyond that, I was as clueless as the person who has never read it. Time and a poor long-term memory will do that. Following spring break, I went to the library to pick up some holds that had become available. As I looked at the titles, I realized that at some point, I must have looked at a list of recent Pulitzer or Booker prize winners and nominees because each of them had some kind of acknowledgment on their cover. I sighed at the prospect of only having these options in the forthcoming weeks. Nothing against prize winning literature, but they tend to lean towards the heavier side of life. And I needed a break from heavy. With books in my arms, I decided to browse through the shelves of fiction, hoping I might find something on the lighter side as a diversion. As I came to the "T"s, I noticed the book Sarah's Quilt, which is a sequel to These Is My Words. At that moment, the only book I wanted to read was These Is My Words. Of course, the library didn't have a copy available, but the audio book version was on its shelf. 12 CDs and I left that library together. I imagined listening to the story in my minivan as I drove around from errand to errand, but was quickly reminded that although the story is "clean" it isn't really for young children. There are descriptions of some rather brutal happenings as Sarah Agnes Prine and her family trek from Texas to the Arizona frontier to become homesteaders. Indian skirmishes, dying children and men taking advantage of scared young girls kept my listening a private affair. I imagine most people who regularly listen to audio books have some kind of system that allows them to upload them to an ipod or something similar. My little ipod shuffle doesn't have that kind of memory, so I was forced to either play the CDs through my computer or listen to them on the portable DVD player we bought for our kids to use on trips. Again, I disliked the exposure of the computer speakers and after one disc, exclusively used the unwieldy DVD player. Portable or not, holding onto something the size of a large book doesn't lend itself well to getting much done. On day one, I reserved my listening to lying in bed before I went to sleep. But, as anyone who has ever read/listened to These Is My Words before, it wasn't long before it consumed my thoughts and I couldn't help but put the next disc in....and then the one after that. I did manage to iron a few things during one CD, but it was awkward. the cord of my headphones wasn't very long, and I found myself crouching next to the ironing board with my head bent in order to listen. In addition, if I was ironing a pair of pants and needed the entire board, I had to rig the DVD player underneath my armpit, and after a few times of the machine falling to the ground and pulling my neck with it, I gave up ironing:) Oh...I loved this book! The reasons why came flooding back into my thoughts. I love Sarah and her no-nonsense strength. I loved her honesty, as a daughter, as a sister and especially later as a wife. I love how she mothers. I love how she tolerates her circumstances, celebrates her victories and mourns her trials. I just loved her. Throw in Captain Jack Elliot and one of the greatest love stories in literature and you've got yourself the makings of a great book. No wonder I remember liking it so well. The audio version had its advantages and disadvantages. I liked the narrator. She had a drawl that influenced my speech and thoughts for days afterward. I found myself using the phrase, "Fit to be tied" when I became frustrated. I may have even said it out loud once. And I'm still hoping my mother-in-law didn't notice too much when I over-enunciated my "r"s. I caught myself before it became too big a problem. The one minus was that she also narrated for Captain Jack. I don't care how great a voice you have, a woman's voice lowered to sound like a man's still sounds like a woman's voice. Every time she spoke Jack's lines, I thought, "Nope...still you." I am so glad I reconnected with this book. As soon as I finished, I ordered a copy off of Amazon.com, just so that I could have it handy whenever the mood strikes again. While certainly not "light" and definitely not "fluffy", I enjoyed Sarah's Prine's story of life in the Arizona territories during the end of the 19th century. If you're one of the few who haven't read it yet, I highly recommend the experience.

  16. 5 out of 5

    katie

    i began this book several years ago. i thought it was a non-fictional journal, and once i found out that it was fictional i couldn't get back into the book. Since that time, my mom and sister have pleaded with me to finish this book, as it is an all-time favorite for both of them. i finally heeded their suggestion, and i am so glad i did! i devoured this book and couldn't wait to read each day. set in the late 19th century and written as a journal, it is a captivating story of a feisty, determin i began this book several years ago. i thought it was a non-fictional journal, and once i found out that it was fictional i couldn't get back into the book. Since that time, my mom and sister have pleaded with me to finish this book, as it is an all-time favorite for both of them. i finally heeded their suggestion, and i am so glad i did! i devoured this book and couldn't wait to read each day. set in the late 19th century and written as a journal, it is a captivating story of a feisty, determined woman, sarah prine, and her experiences in frontier arizona. the early journal entries are poorly written, as sarah is mostly illiterate. as the book develops, sarah's writing becomes more and more polished, mimicking the character herself. by the end of the book, sarah is a polished, literate, hard-working, capable, devoted mother, wife and friend. she is someone that i respect and look up to. without giving too much away, the love story in this book is one of the best i have ever read...it will leave you ALWAYS wanting more! the book climaxes about 2/3 of the way in and then kind of comes down from there. it's not tied up in a neat little package at the end, which is usually how i prefer a story to end. but this time it didn't bother me because that's how real life is. you will not be disappointed if you read this book. you may even want to read it again...

  17. 4 out of 5

    Deanne Patterson

    This book was nitty gritty and I LOVED IT! I have been reading Christian fiction historicals for so long that I forgot what it was like to just read a historical novel that wasn't Christian and refined and have things prim and proper and the bad glossed over! This novel was based on a diary written by the author's grandmother from the years 1881-1901. I loved the realness of it. It tells about life the way it really was back then on the Arizona territories. I am looking forward to reading the tw This book was nitty gritty and I LOVED IT! I have been reading Christian fiction historicals for so long that I forgot what it was like to just read a historical novel that wasn't Christian and refined and have things prim and proper and the bad glossed over! This novel was based on a diary written by the author's grandmother from the years 1881-1901. I loved the realness of it. It tells about life the way it really was back then on the Arizona territories. I am looking forward to reading the two other books in this series by this author!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Doug Bradshaw

    Several years ago I watched an excellent PBS documentary of the Donner Party story. At the end of the program, having vicariously lived through the whole mess, they interviewed this older woman who had lived through it all to get her thoughts and advice: "don't take no shortcuts" was her main thought. I had to laugh thinking how trite that sounded after all of that. To some extent, "These is My Words" reminds me of that. I can picture Nancy Turner reading through journals and just shaking her he Several years ago I watched an excellent PBS documentary of the Donner Party story. At the end of the program, having vicariously lived through the whole mess, they interviewed this older woman who had lived through it all to get her thoughts and advice: "don't take no shortcuts" was her main thought. I had to laugh thinking how trite that sounded after all of that. To some extent, "These is My Words" reminds me of that. I can picture Nancy Turner reading through journals and just shaking her head at the things that they went through back then with deaths of close family, severe heat and living conditions, flooding, cold winters, snakes, desperadoes dropping in, being attacked by the Indians, etc. Someone compared the book to "Lonesome Dove." It is like Lonesome Dove in that it gives us an up close and personal look of what it must have really been like back then. But for me, although all of those things were very well told, the real genius of the book was Nancy's ability to convey to us the inner thinking and emotional flip flopping and somewhat brilliant and yet naive world of Sarah, the heroine. In reading great authors, I'm always amazed at how they are able to put into writing things that are so subtle and hard to explain. And yet, that's what Nancy Turner has done here. She's given us a lovable, hard working, stubborn, clever, tough, tender, and excellent character. Great book.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    I am enjoying this book more than any book I have read in a long time. I love that this is a real life setting about a powerful courageous woman of our time. It shows the struggles and triumphs of life, and I can relate to it in so many ways. I love it!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Julie Durnell

    This was an exceptionally good book-I don't normally read this type of book but was instantly hooked. Sarah is a remarkable pioneer woman who overcomes so many roadblocks in life both as someone living in this age and as a woman who runs a ranch and wants to be educated so badly. Her indomitable spirit infuses the pages of her diary that records her feelings and adventures and sorrows. There are a few incidents that describe the horrific and gritty sides to life in the Arizona territories; I did This was an exceptionally good book-I don't normally read this type of book but was instantly hooked. Sarah is a remarkable pioneer woman who overcomes so many roadblocks in life both as someone living in this age and as a woman who runs a ranch and wants to be educated so badly. Her indomitable spirit infuses the pages of her diary that records her feelings and adventures and sorrows. There are a few incidents that describe the horrific and gritty sides to life in the Arizona territories; I did not feel that they detract from the story, but rather keep in step with the courage of pioneering. Highly recommended!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Cassy

    Where has this book been hiding my whole life? If you like Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind and Gabaldon’s Outlander, I’d say it is a sure bet that you will love this one too. It has the same key ingredients: robust historical setting, epic sprawling action, and two meant-to-be-together characters that have a rocky start to their relationship. And any book that can make me grin and then cry like that deserves five stars. I am trying to recall some of its flaws. They are few and far between. Obvious Where has this book been hiding my whole life? If you like Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind and Gabaldon’s Outlander, I’d say it is a sure bet that you will love this one too. It has the same key ingredients: robust historical setting, epic sprawling action, and two meant-to-be-together characters that have a rocky start to their relationship. And any book that can make me grin and then cry like that deserves five stars. I am trying to recall some of its flaws. They are few and far between. Obviously the title stinks. Be prepared to read the work “ornery” about every other page. There is a fairly long section towards the end where the book functions as a traditional diary and nothing defining happens. At which point, the story also moves forward rapidly as the intervals between entries lengthen to months or even a year. This section pales a bit in comparison to the first half of the book dealing with the courtship. The whole book is melodramatic - but if you like this type of historical fiction, you know what to expect. I was surprised to discover there are two sequels. This book seems like the stoic stand-alone type. (Can you imagine if Gone with the Wind had a sequel? That would feel wrong, right?) I may eventually pick up Turner’s next book and risk spoiling the near perfect memory of this one. But for now, I am content.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Melodie

    Life in the western territories was rough, and uncertain. And it was in this environment that Miss Sarah Prine carved out a life for herself and subsequently her family. Sharp of mind(and tongue) with a thirst for knowledge almost unheard of in that part of the country,Sarah determined early on that she would do what it took to survive and thrive. And thrive she did! In a no-nonsense manner she records her life in her journal. The reader is with her as she does her daily chores, squabbles with Life in the western territories was rough, and uncertain. And it was in this environment that Miss Sarah Prine carved out a life for herself and subsequently her family. Sharp of mind(and tongue) with a thirst for knowledge almost unheard of in that part of the country,Sarah determined early on that she would do what it took to survive and thrive. And thrive she did! In a no-nonsense manner she records her life in her journal. The reader is with her as she does her daily chores, squabbles with her family and faces down a myriad number of crises. And there is a front row seat when she spurns the unwanted attention of a certain dashing soldier time and again. Exasperation sets in,as she does her level best to make him understand that she just isn't interested, only to desperately miss his presence when he leaves. I had to remind myself more than once that this was a work of fiction, not an autobiography. It reads as truth. The author did her homework with research for sure. I loved this look at life through Sarah's eyes and pen. People and events weren't all tied up with a pretty ribbon. It left me with that feeling of truly having just finished her journal, not a book.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    What a delightful surprise! This book was not at all what I thought it was before I cracked the spine, or rather I should say, inserted the CD, as I listened to the audio. It is an epistolary novel, written as a series of diary entries spanning a 20 year period in the life of the author's great-grandmother. Sarah Agnes Prine was an early settler in the Arizona territory. As I live in Arizona, I was thrilled with the references to places and things I know. Even the narrator's mispronunciation of c What a delightful surprise! This book was not at all what I thought it was before I cracked the spine, or rather I should say, inserted the CD, as I listened to the audio. It is an epistolary novel, written as a series of diary entries spanning a 20 year period in the life of the author's great-grandmother. Sarah Agnes Prine was an early settler in the Arizona territory. As I live in Arizona, I was thrilled with the references to places and things I know. Even the narrator's mispronunciation of certain Arizona words like Prescott (it's PressCut not PressScott) and Fort Huachuacha (it's Fort Wahchewka, not Fort Whoachewka) could not ruin it for me. I also thought the narrator's male voice was not especially masculine. No matter. At it's essence, it is a love story, and for those fans of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, this is one of the closest I have found in historical detail, portrayal of a masculine hero, strong female protagonist, and emotional wallop. I drove the freeway in tears this morning as I listened to the conclusion. I can give no better recommendation than that. The best part is it's the first book in a trilogy.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Shiloah

    I don't know if I have words to express my feelings regarding this book. I loved it. It's a rare day that I find a book that describes my own relationship with my wonderful husband. Oh, Jack! Why did you have to leave again? I'm sitting here wishing I could hug and hold my Ben but he is a soldier on another mission in Africa. But, at least he will be home again. I felt so connected to this story. Such a part of it and I understood Sarah so well. I think like her. I'm independent and always doing I don't know if I have words to express my feelings regarding this book. I loved it. It's a rare day that I find a book that describes my own relationship with my wonderful husband. Oh, Jack! Why did you have to leave again? I'm sitting here wishing I could hug and hold my Ben but he is a soldier on another mission in Africa. But, at least he will be home again. I felt so connected to this story. Such a part of it and I understood Sarah so well. I think like her. I'm independent and always doing or thinking things that others don't always approve of, but I don't care. This is a book that will forever stay with me. Thank you, Karina Palmer & Tracie Carter for recommending this book.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Deborah Pickstone

    I kept circling this as if it were a bad tasting medicine - I don't know why I seemed to expect so little - and I was so wrong! This is an excellent read, wonderful characterisation, lots of layers within the plot, and the best romantic hero and heroine I have come across in recent times. I see this likened to Gone with the Wind and I have to say that is not an unreasonable comparison. Luckily, I had the sequel to hand and started it over my breakfast coffee, so have it happily in prospect when I kept circling this as if it were a bad tasting medicine - I don't know why I seemed to expect so little - and I was so wrong! This is an excellent read, wonderful characterisation, lots of layers within the plot, and the best romantic hero and heroine I have come across in recent times. I see this likened to Gone with the Wind and I have to say that is not an unreasonable comparison. Luckily, I had the sequel to hand and started it over my breakfast coffee, so have it happily in prospect when I get home. :)

  26. 4 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    3.5 Easy to read, I really liked the format of this book. The first 20 pgs. or so were very depressing, so many people dying, tragedy after tragedy, but I know the early settlers did have it very difficult. Would have liked it more had it been based on historical fact, but all in all Sarah was a very plucky and hardworking woman, and I found the story held my interest.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    This has been on my to read list for nearly a decade. So glad I finally took the time to read it. Loved the writing. Loved the characters. I smiled and laughed and cringed and cried. Very well done book. Source: Puchased

  28. 5 out of 5

    Krystal

    First Read February 2008: This book is probably in my top 10. I love this book because the main character feels like a real person. The situations she faces and the way she reacts to the situations are very real-life. It's very easy to relate emotionally to this book, and it is an emotional roller coaster. You'll be happy, sad, mad, glad, angry, frusterated, laughing, and crying right along with the characters. Oh and you won't be able to put this book down. Reread May 2014: I have reread this bo First Read February 2008: This book is probably in my top 10. I love this book because the main character feels like a real person. The situations she faces and the way she reacts to the situations are very real-life. It's very easy to relate emotionally to this book, and it is an emotional roller coaster. You'll be happy, sad, mad, glad, angry, frusterated, laughing, and crying right along with the characters. Oh and you won't be able to put this book down. Reread May 2014: I have reread this book 4 or 5 times since I first read it in 2008. It's one of those books that has stayed with me, and inspired me. I love Sarah, the main character. I think that she embodies everything a woman should be. I love her imperfections and her strengths. I love that she has a strong sense or morality, even when things aren't popular with the time period she lives in. (Like having an Indian over for dinner, or treating her Mexican neighbors like family.) I love her insights on motherhood, child rearing, and education. And I love how her character develops and grows. This book makes me laugh, and cry; every time I read it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    This book goes on my top 5 favorite books. Sarah is my hero. This book was so sad about the harsh realities of living in those times in the west. Almost every chapter my heart broke. I loved the romance and practicality of her marriage. She amazed me with her tenacity for life. And how she made the good times help her overcome the hard ones.She was a survival specilist. Her best characteristic I thought was her willingness to do whatever needed to be done. I related to Sarah with her husband Jac This book goes on my top 5 favorite books. Sarah is my hero. This book was so sad about the harsh realities of living in those times in the west. Almost every chapter my heart broke. I loved the romance and practicality of her marriage. She amazed me with her tenacity for life. And how she made the good times help her overcome the hard ones.She was a survival specilist. Her best characteristic I thought was her willingness to do whatever needed to be done. I related to Sarah with her husband Jack. I know Jack is a fictional character but sometimes it described my husband and our relationship perfectly. Which is why I thin I loved this book and that character so much. I think I cried for an hour after I finished this book. Anyone who is a mother can truely relate to the love and fear she felt for her children. Its the same things we want for our children to be. I love the relationship she hadwith her sister in law Savannah. There differences made them closer as both qualities were needed. Loved this book I loved it more the 2nd time. I am not sure if I really want to read Sarah's Quilt... I am still in love with Jack and don't this i am ready for someone new.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    I cracked open the cover, saw it was written as a journal and thought, "Ugh, not another story written as a journal." Within three entries, I was looking for a hammer and some nails to board my doors and windows to ban visitors, so I could read it in peace. This is a flawed piece of fiction, filled with too many plot contrivances that don't work, inconsistent flow of the storyline, and an annoying protagonist who is often too ignorant to be believed. But, as soon as Captain Elliot (oh, Captain, m I cracked open the cover, saw it was written as a journal and thought, "Ugh, not another story written as a journal." Within three entries, I was looking for a hammer and some nails to board my doors and windows to ban visitors, so I could read it in peace. This is a flawed piece of fiction, filled with too many plot contrivances that don't work, inconsistent flow of the storyline, and an annoying protagonist who is often too ignorant to be believed. But, as soon as Captain Elliot (oh, Captain, my Captain!) steps on to the battlefield, you are willing to forgive both author and protagonist for the errors of their ways. Captain Elliot is one of those rare male characters who falls into a unique category with Rhett Butler and Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. He is delicious, and he is the reason you can't stop reading. When he wasn't around, I can't say I was incredibly interested in the other parts of the story, but as soon as he'd return, I was ready. I can't think of a single man who would enjoy this read, but, if you are a woman who loves a romantic, adventurous story, then go grab a copy.

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