Friday, July 19, 2019

Big-Hearted Hattie Novels Warm, Exciting, and Upbeat

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

(Note:  While this review will not contain spoilers for Hattie Ever After, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from its predecessor, Hattie Big Sky.  As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.)

Back in 2008, I raved about an engaging YA historical novel called Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson.  It concerns a 16-year-old orphan who receives a surprise inheritance from an uncle she never knew she had.  He bequeaths her his Montana homestead—if she can "prove it up" in the next ten months, she will become its proud owner.  With nothing to keep her in Iowa, Hattie heads west.  Over the course of the novel, she has countless adventures in the wilds of Montana as she makes a go of homesteading, which proves to be a whole lot tougher than it seems.

I adored Hattie Big Sky when I read it, but I didn't realize—until just a few months ago—that Larson had penned a sequel.  Hattie Ever After came out in 2014.  The newer novel picks up where its predecessor left off, with Hattie deciding to leave Montana after failing to prove up Uncle Chester's cabin.  She's always dreamed of being a reporter, so she heads to San Francisco where she's sure she'll immediately be hired by the best newspaper in town.  Like homesteading, getting the coveted job turns out to be a little more difficult than she thought it would be.  Nevertheless, determined to make her dream come true, Hattie uses her pluck and wits to make a name for herself in the cutthroat world of journalism.  Along the way, of course, she has all kinds of adventures that test her mettle.  Will she find success?

While I didn't love Hattie Ever After quite as much as I did the first book, the sequel is still a warm, fun, exciting novel.  With colorful historical details, a lively cast, and an entertaining plot, it's an enjoyable read.  I loved learning Uncle Chester's back story and finding out what happens to Hattie after her exploits in Montana.  If you dig clean, upbeat, engaging historical fiction, you can't go wrong with Larson's heartwarming Hattie novels.


Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for scenes of peril

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of Hattie Ever After from Amazon with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.

5 comments:

  1. I only skimmed this because I really want to read Hattie Big Sky. I loved the Little House on the Prairie books but somehow I missed Hattie.

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  2. Love that cover. A high percentage of the books I read first got my attention through great cover art like that one.

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  3. I liked Hattie Big Sky but never went on to read the sequel because it was the whole homesteading thing that drew me to the first book...and that wasn't a factor in the second one. :)

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  4. I've never read the first one, and didn't know there was a sequel. I've heard good things. Another one to put on my list! Thanks.

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  5. Reading a sequel to a beloved book, especially years later, is always tough. I tend to remember the original book as perfect and the poor follow ups cannot ever live up to my hype.

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