May 25, 2009

Sarah's Quilt by Nancy E. Turner

I'm happy to report that this sequel to These Is My Words was not a disappointment. The story of frontier woman Sarah Agnes Prine continues with Sarah living on her ranch outside of Tucson in a time of drought, facing an interesting assortment of outlaws and relatives and marriage proposals.

In a way this book is better than its predecessor, and in others it isn't as good. Turner's writing has matured, and yet she seems to run out of plot ideas. There is a plot, or a series of plots, but they seem to mainly be there just to give the book a raison d'etre. Really the book is about day to day life on a ranch run by a paradoxical yet admirable woman, and that alone is interesting enough to offset the plot weaknesses. My favorite bit of plot involves a long lost nephew that comes to live on the ranch, with the mistaken impression that he actually owns it, and the desire to be an outlaw. The best thing about these books for me, on a personal note, is that I find Sarah's character inspiring. She seems more real than most live people I come across, and she has a strength and fearlessness that I aspire to.

This book also stands alone quite well. It isn't necessary to read These Is My Words first to enjoy it, although I do recommend doing that just because it's such a great book. I hope Turner writes another in this series. She doesn't leave anything hanging, but I'd love to visit Sarah again.

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