Monday, March 25, 2013

Review: Hattie Ever After by Kirby Larson (sequel to Hattie Big Sky)

Publish date: 2013
Source: Library
Format: Hardcover
Length: 219 pages
"After leaving Uncle Chester's homestead claim, orphan Hattie Brooks throws a lasso around a new dream, even bigger than the Montana sky. She wants to be a reporter, knowing full well that a few pieces published in the Arlington News will not suffice. Real reporters must go to Grand Places, and do Grand Things, like Hattie's hero Nellie Bly. Another girl might be stymied by this, but Hattie has faced down a hungry wolf and stood up to a mob of angry men. Nothing can squash her desire to write for a big city newspaper. A letter and love token from Uncle Chester's old flame in San Francisco fuels that desire and Hattie jumps at the opportunity to get there by working as a seamstress for a traveling acting troupe. This could be her chance to solve the mystery of her "scoundrel" uncle and, in the process, help her learn more about herself. But Hattie must first tell Charlie that she will not join him in Seattle. Even though her heart approves of Charlie's plan for their marriage, her mind fears that saying yes to him would be saying no to herself. 

Hattie holds her own in the big city, literally pitching her way to a byline, and a career that could be even bigger than Nellie Bly's. But can making headlines compensate for the pain of betrayal and lost love? Hattie must dig deep to find her own true place in the world. Kirby Larson once again creates a lovingly written novel about the remarkable and resilient young orphan, Hattie Inez Brooks." (Goodreads)

Hattie Ever After is the sequel to Hattie Big Sky, a 2007 Newbery Honor that I listened to last summer. I really enjoyed it, as it reminded me a lot of Laura Ingalls Wilder and I liked Hattie Ever After a lot too, despite its lack of a prairie setting (one of my all time fave settings).

Hattie Ever After picks up after Hattie has left Uncle Chester's homestead, but she is definitely the same spunky, positive girl that she was in Montana. One of my favorite things about her is that she has such a great attitude throughout the two books. I loved following her journey from Montana all the way to San Francisco. I've been to San Francisco once and it was cool to imagine how the city has changed since Hattie's time.

I think my favorite thing about this story is Kirby Larson's writing style. It fits so perfectly with both Hattie's character and the time period. The word choice, the dialect, the sentence structure: everything was just perfect for the story. It's obvious everything was well-researched and it was really interesting to read the author's note afterward to learn about Ms. Larson's journey to writing this unexpected sequel.

Hattie Big Sky and Hattie Ever After are the types of books that remind me of why I love historical fiction. Definitely read these two if you are looking for fun, well-researched, and compulsively readable historical fiction!

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