Monday, July 8, 2013

Hattie Ever After by Kirby Larson

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. (from GoodReads)

One of the first books I ever reviewed was Hattie Big Sky, the predecessor to this novel. So it holds a very special place in my heart and it's fitting that now I'm reviewing Hattie Ever After. 

Even though it's been quite a few years since I read about Hattie, I was able to easily jump back into the story. There were a few things I had forgotten, but I figured out what was going on. The first book was all about Hattie trying to make it out in Montana on her uncle's long-forgotten homestead. Hattie Ever After is a huge change of pace because Hattie moves to San Francisco to be a reporter. At first I thought it was so random until I was reminded that she used to write little stories about Montana for her hometown newspaper in Iowa. This is a huge dream for a young woman in the early twentieth century, but Hattie's talent and gusto for writing make her a great reporter and she is able to hold her own with the men.

Hattie chooses San Francisco because she received a letter and token from her Uncle's old lover and wanted some answers about his life. He called himself a "scoundrel" and Hattie is determined to figure out why. There were several plot points that were meant to be twists, but I easily predicted them. You can't pull one over on me! Even so, that didn't stop me from enjoying Hattie journey and development. 

It was so nice to visit an old character that I liked reading about. I don't know if the author is continuing the story but I would love to read more about Hattie! History buffs will find the story information because there is a ton of great information about American life during the turn of the century.

Rating: 8 out of 10.
FTC: reviewed through LitPick

2013/Delacorte Press/240 pages.

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