An orphan since nearly her earliest memories, Hattie has spent her life being shuffled from one distant relative to another. And now, in the thick of the first World War, Hattie finally has a chance to make something her very own: an inherited homesteaders claim in Eastern Montana country. With less than a year to “prove” the claim, the learning curve is steep, but 16-year-old Hattie is up to the challenge. Of course, there are neighbors who provide help, but, more than that, these neighbors give the sense of family that she’s always longed for.
At first it was really hard for me to wrap my mind around a 16-year-old girl living in a tiny house, alone, out on the prairie. But we watch her through her struggles and soon see that she’s not only capable, but that she’s willing to accept help. It wasn’t an easy life, to be sure, but Hattie found sincere happiness, along with the requisite sorrow. I would’ve liked to have seen more of a romantic storyline, but I get that it wasn’t the story’s point — Hattie needed to learn about Hattie. A book of highs and lows, with a large thread of wartime racism and fear, it grabbed my attention from the beginning and kept it until the end.