Tuesday, February 3, 2015

WWRW February Link-Up

Welcome back to the What We're Reading Wednesday book review link-up party!

I post book reviews nearly every Wednesday here at Housewifespice{dot}com, and I used to have a weekly link-up. Then I had a baby. A high-need baby. Then, I fell off the blogging wagon.

I'm clawing my way back, slowly but surely, but I'm not confident enough yet to host a weekly link-up, so monthly it is. For now.

Here's what I've been reading.

Old college friends were discussing old books on the Facebook. I'm a sucker for old books. So I cracked my knuckles and opened up the World Catalog on my library's website and proceeded to track down some endangered titles with the skill of a Tatooine bounty hunter.

Hannah Fowler by Janice Holt Giles, where have you been all my life?

We first meet Hannah in the wilds of unsettled Kentucky territory, in 1777.

I said SEVENTEEN seventy-seven.

Not Eighteen seventy-seven, like those Ingalls and Wilder folks. Livin' the easy life in the 19th century. Railroads and telegrams and sewing machines. Pish posh.

This book is hard core.

Hannah is tending her pa, Samuel, who is suffering from a self-inflicted ax wound. They are alone and had been on their way to Daniel Boone's fort when the accident occurred. Alone. In the middle of an unsettled land filled with unknown dangers, Indians, mountain lions, bears, wolves, tetanus. Dutifully and skillfully, Hannah hunts and forages, tends the camp, and nurses her father. She is SurvivorWoman.

Hannah is a plain woman. When her mother died, Samuel raised her "as good as a man." She can hunt, track, handle an ax, build a loom, cut fence posts, as well as cook, spin, weave, and bake. There's not much she can't do.

She is painfully shy however. And extremely humble.

She has a chance meeting with another human in the endless forest. Tice Fowler had been searching for his stolen horses when he meets Hannah. He kindly stays with Hannah and her father until they can travel. Unfortunately, Hannah's father does not survive his injury. Tice kindly helps Hannah bury her father and offers to escort her to civilization.

Hannah accompanies Tice to Ben Logan's fort and sees her safely esconced in the care of Mrs. Ben Logan. It doesn't take long for word to get around that there is a single female in the area.  Hannah is courted by every eligible bachelor and widower for miles around.

Only one man will do for Hannah. She overcomes her shyness to make Tice Fowler her partner for life.

The novel goes on to tell of their marriage, the building of a home and a family, the accumulation of stock, the passing of seasons.

I was perfectly content for the book to stay this way, happily ever after and so on and so forth. But deeeeep into the novel, 4/5 or 5/6 of the way in, danger and destruction threaten. Hannah is up to any hardship though. Nothing can stop her.

Janice Holt Giles is real fond of writing the dialogue in a countrified dialect. It's a mite burdensome at the get-go, but you'll soon be swimmin' like a duck. Giles wrote this epic in 1956, and her treatment of Native peoples is less than politically correct, historically accurate though it may be. I do not know.

Hannah Fowler is a novel about real love, romance, and contentment. It is also a novel about crazy people who went to live in the vast unknown in the middle ages with nothing but a gun, an iron kettle, a spinning wheel, and an axe head. For real. Just the axe head. Hannah makes the handle herself.

I will stop now.

Now for the part we've all been scrolling down to see...


  1. I've got a book review post going up next week. I will be sure to link it up! Right now I am reading The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. It's my Chosen By the Cover pick for the MMD 2015 reading challenge. I *like* it, but I am having a hard time getting to the "plow point." You know, the point where you understand the writer's style, the language and the plot enough that you can just race to the end?

    I am constantly thinking about when this baby will get out of me, so I am attributing it to that!

  2. Old historical fiction is a genre all to itself, isn't it? I love to see how cultural ideas of the time of the writing tend to pervade the cultural ideas of the actual time...you get this blend of concepts and prejudices, or lack thereof, and often have to do a little detective work to determine which ideas came from when. And just the writing style itself... historical fiction is often wordier/more descriptive than other fiction, but you can definitely see a difference between what's being written today (much faster, for today's impatient--or, to look at it nicely, spoiled by quality--readers) and what was written 60 years ago.
    Thanks for sharing this!

  3. Wow, I absolutely want to check it out now!

  4. Hannah sounds AMAZING! Reserving it now at my library site! Thanks for the commentary!

    Thanks, too, for hosting! I love linking up here as well as discovering new titles! So appreciate the link up!

    Also, your dys post of last week.....yes! My gr 6 /age 12 son is dys also...well, no "official" diagnosis....But we've begun jumping thru the hoops of testing and IEP development now too as he will be attending a brick and mortar high school in 3 years. I know he'll need mods for many things, testing and etc. We have appts with an audiologist to det if he has central aud processing disorder and a ped neuropsych to get an official diagnosis of dyslexia. In our state, ( NY) dysl is not a classification for services/mods so he will be labelled as "LD" too. He too has a huge discrepancy between IQ and his educ eval. The thing is with a med diagnosis, in our state, he will not have to be pulled out of his regular schedule in high school in order to get mandated services. With just an LD diagnosis , he will. I want him in the honors track and already I'm getting flack. It's upsetting..Good ting I began this in Sept....3 years in advance. (My "area" is reading disabilities so I do know a little about treatment of dus, altho I am so willing and happy to have someone else intervene.

    Really enjoyed your dys post...thank you. Very informative! Happy to see that your son is doing well and things are moving forward to help him achieve success!!

    God bless