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These is My Words by Nancy Turner November 6, 2006

Posted by pvccbookclub in Current Discussion.
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Sarah Agnes Prine is an illiterate 17-year-old at the beginning of this wild-west adventure, but she grows up to become a wise, resilient, pioneer woman. Her amazing story is revealed via diary entries that chronicle her family’s journey from the New Mexico Territory to a ranch outside of Tucson, AZ. The story is based on the real life diary of the author, Nancy Turner’s great-grandmother.

At first Sarah’s diary entries are filled with grammatical errors and misspellings as she struggles to learn to read and write. But her story is never unexciting, filled as it is with Indian attacks, amputations, snakebites, and other dangers of pioneer life. The story is no less interesting once Sarah and her family arrive in Tucson and begin to build their new life. The interaction between Sarah and Captain Jack Elliot, their wagon trade guide and her future husband, is lively and romantic. This is a must-read for all Arizonans, as well as fans of historical fiction.

Questions to consider for discussion:

1) Sarah is relentless in her quest to educate herself. Why do you think this is so? How does it change her relationships with her family and friends?

2) What is the significance of Sarah’s interest in “The Duchess of Warwick and Her Sorrow by the Sea”?

3) Sarah and her sister-in-law, Savannah are very close and yet their views on religion are very different. How is each woman sustained by their respective views on theology?

4) How did you feel when Sarah marries Jimmy? Why does she marry him? Do you think their marriage ever had a chance to succeed?

5) What makes Jack and Sarah such a perfect match? Why is their wedding gift of time pieces significant?

6) Does Sarah fit your traditional definition of a “heroine”? What characteristics about her do you like or dislike?