Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sarah Prine's story continued

One of my favorite reads last year was Nancy E. Turner's These is My Words, and I recently spent my first few post-partum weeks finishing her Sarah Prine trilogy.  While her first novel spanned a couple of decades and followed young Sarah's journey through adulthood, the next two take place within a relatively brief period of time.

Sarah's Quilt picks up some years after the close of These is My Words.  Widowed Sarah Prine Elliot is fighting to save her ranch in the midst of a devastating drought, fighting her obstinate sons to go back to college and pursue the future she dreams for them, fighting an unknown enemy who is sabotaging her water supply and stealing her cattle, and fighting her own heart as she faces a marriage proposal that confuses her and brings into sharp focus the pain of her loss.  As in her first novel, Turner does an excellent job fleshing out her characters, creating a strong sense of setting, and using a good mix of action and still reflection that moves the story forward in a thought-provoking way.  The diary format is more loose with this novel, which frees Turner up a bit from those retraints while still keeping the narrative voice very strong.  Because of Sarah's age and maturity, her family is a central focus and some of the secondary characters become more important than they were in the previous novel, causing her to share the spotlight a little more.  But she is still just as tough and soft-hearted as ever, and I enjoyed it immensely.

The conclusion of Sarah's story comes in The Star Garden.  Many of the conflicts from Sarah's Quilt continue, and some other interesting subplots are introduced, such as when Sarah attends a term of college.  There is also a new love in Sarah's life, and the developing romance faces some serious obstacles -- both external and internal.  I didn't enjoy this one as much as the other two.  There were some character inconsistencies that bothered me, and the ending was pretty bittersweet.  But, I have to say that the conclusion very much felt like real life -- not necessarily the joyously happy ending you might want, but good enough to work with.  While it wasn't my favorite of the three, it was still very well-written and definitely worth reading.

Taken together, this makes for one of the best series I've ever read, with some unforgettable drama and inspiring characters. I just might have to take a look at what else Nancy E. Turner has written!


  1. I put in a request for the first book a few weeks ago and I'm excited to try it out. I'm glad you're so good about finishing a series because I am terrible. I usually give up. You give me hope that it's worth finishing.

  2. I'm midway through Quilt and am enjoying it a lot. My commute is flying by while I listen to Ms. Prine Elliot kicks her boys into shape. Great story, great writing.

  3. I just finished reading "These is my Words," and I am so glad to hear that the other two are good. I adored the first book and had to explain to my 5-year-old "why mommy is crying" when I got to the last few chapters. I'll go grab the other two.