Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Hattie Big Sky by: Kirby Larson

Sixteen year-old Hattie Brook's parents have died, leaving her in the care of no one in particular. So Hattie is shuttled from one relative to another. In the beginning of this book we find Hattie at her aunt and uncle's house. Hattie's aunt is eager to get rid of her niece and jumps at the chance to send Hattie to work for Iantha Wells, at Iantha's boardinghouse. Hattie is disgusted. But fortunately for her, that very day a letter arrives from her Uncle Chester, who has recently died, leaving her 320 acres in Montana. Tired of being Hattie Here-and-There, and despite her aunt's protests, Hattie summons up the courage to leave Iowa and go live in Vida, Montana, where she knows no one.

Under Montana's big sky, Hattie battles hard times, bad weather, and a temperamental cow. Not only that, but, upon arrival, Hattie finds that her uncle had left a large debt that she now has to pay off! Hattie also deals with Traft Martin, or "trouble" as she calls him, and his schemes to get her off the property so he can have it. But, for the first time, she finally feels like she is part of a family. Hattie witnesses her neighbor's barn burn down due to the fact he is German. In those days, boys were pressured to fight in the war, and people who didn't fight in the war were forced into being "loyal" Americans. As Hattie's neighbor, Karl, was German, he was suspected of not doing his duty as an American. Despite everything though, Hattie continues to work hard on her Uncle Chester's claim, until an unforeseen tragedy strikes.

I love this story! It's an interesting book about a pioneer girl who is seeking freedom and a new life.

My favourite characters are Perilee Muller and Hattie. Perilee, Hattie's neighbor, is like a mother to Hattie and guides her through her troubles. Hattie is courageous, independent, and in search of a better life. From this book I learned to have perseverance and not give up in tough situations.

11 and up

4.5 stars

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