Book Reviews of The Diary of Mattie Spenser

The Diary of Mattie Spenser
The Diary of Mattie Spenser
Author: Sandra Dallas
ISBN-13: 9780312155155
ISBN-10: 0312155158
Publication Date: 6/1997
Pages: 229
Rating:
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 21

4.5 stars, based on 21 ratings
Publisher: St Martins Pr
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

37 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed The Diary of Mattie Spenser on + 45 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
An intensely vivid portrait of historic fiction ~ I couldn't put it down and am very eager to read more by this talented author!

Mattie Spenser's diary contains the flip-side of what we all pictured frontier life to be in the air-brushed "Little House on the Prairie" vision many of us grew up with.
reviewed The Diary of Mattie Spenser on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
I'd read this book long ago and lent it to a friend and never got it back. I loved it then, and couldn't remember the name of it after awhile. I was so pleasantly surprised when another friend of mine purchased it and I reconnected with it. I was as enthralled with the second reading of it as I was with the first. So, I've just requested this for my permanent bookshelf. I'm sure I will enjoy it again someday.
reviewed The Diary of Mattie Spenser on + 78 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
Wonderfully written journal style book of a young woman who marries and goes to live in Colorado Territory in 1865
reviewed The Diary of Mattie Spenser on + 471 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
The buoyancy and simple, uncloying sweetness of spirit of Dallas's appealing protagonist--the young wife of a homesteader in Colorado Territory--give a bright, fresh shading to the tragedies and small sharp joys of 19th-century frontier life. Again, as in The Persian Pickle Club (1995), Dallas has caught the lilt and drift of regional speech. At 22, plain Mattie is astounded that handsome Luke Spenser desires to marry her--he has been keeping company with pretty Persia. Nonetheless, he chooses her, and they head out from Iowa in May 1865 to the homestead Luke has already planted in Colorado Territory. There are pleasures along the way: nice folks, and quiet days spent with Luke, her ``Darling Boy.'' But Luke, who doesn't smile at her jokes, works very hard and doesn't like her to flirt with him. As for the marital act: ``I still think it's overrated.'' Danger comes soon enough, and it's Mattie's quick shooting that saves two lives, although she doesn't seriously contradict Luke's dismissive observation that it was a ``lucky shot.'' Once they arrive in Colorado, though, Mattie is disappointed by the homestead (out on the plains, she finds, there is ``too much sky''). Her education in the real travails of people, particularly women, separated from the cushioning platitudes and quick-step judgments of home, begins immediately. A despised ``slattern'' proves herself a true friend; Mattie witnesses women weakened by too many births, another abused and horribly killed, and murder and torture by both whites and Indians. She also experiences wild joy and then tragedy, suffers many dangers, and is rocked by Luke's sudden betrayal. (``How could he ever again be my Darling Boy?'') Yet torment yields to endurance and a kind of compassion. Tragedies and sad little domestic dramas are muffled within the decency and humanity of a character whose understanding--but not essence--changes with events. A modest, appealing novel with a convincing reach into Colorado's plains and skies.
reviewed The Diary of Mattie Spenser on + 107 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
I just finished this one and I hated for it to end. I loved it. You get so involved with Mattie's life. I just couldn't put this one down. You'll love it.
reviewed The Diary of Mattie Spenser on + 19 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I don't usually read books in this time period or setting but I'm so glad I read this one. It is a character driven story, but the plot keeps you wanting to know what happens next. An unforgettable story of hardship, friendship, and survival.
reviewed The Diary of Mattie Spenser on + 144 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Great book. Wish it could have lasted a thousand pages longer.
reviewed The Diary of Mattie Spenser on + 10 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I found that I could not quite put this book down until the conclusion despite not really liking and eventually not respecting the character of Mattie Spenser. Since Mattie's character is the heart of the book, I was left sorely lacking.

Mattie is near perfection as the selfless, undemanding, obedient helpmate to her "darling boy" (re: horrible husband), even when she knew better, and her character doesn't develop much beyond that stance despite the many trials, hardships, and horrors she (and most of the other women in the book) faced. I don't think Mattie was weak, she made her choices by always giving in and there were consequences, but she's a survivor and the personification of dull perseverance.

The fact that I wanted to read it to the end out of curiosity and in the hope that something would develop within Mattie Spenser's core, some growth, even within the context of the world of a 19th century pioneer farm wife, speaks to Sandra Dallas's skills as a novelist (an extra star for that). But I'm not a fan and will not be seeking out more from this author.
reviewed The Diary of Mattie Spenser on + 72 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I loved this book! I love books written in diary form and this one certainly didn't disappoint. I will definitly be looking for the author's other books.
reviewed The Diary of Mattie Spenser on + 261 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is the story of Mattie Spenser who journeys to Colorado Territory with her new husband Luke in the 1860s. Written in diary form, the book starts off slow but picks up pace towards the middle.
reviewed The Diary of Mattie Spenser on + 9 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I have found another favorite author. This book is charming. I loved the dialog and speech used to amplify the main character. Several things I have heard my grandparents let slip when they refer back to their early days. Absolutely charming.
reviewed The Diary of Mattie Spenser on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is one of the best books I've ever read!! I'm ready to read more of Sandra Dallas!
reviewed The Diary of Mattie Spenser on + 13 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
As a fan of historical fiction and a growing fan of Sandra Dallas I was engrossed in this book. The story follows the first three years of a newly married couple establishing themselves on their Colorado homestead in the mid 1860's. It references politics of the time as well as the trials of that life. We witness the inner thinkings and feelings of a woman in a man's world who battles with her own strong will and the "proper" way to handle herself. I laughed, cried, and sobbed uncontrollably, but felt satisfied at the end of the book. This is definitely a must-read!
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Helpful Score: 1
: I started this book because my DIL wanted to read it together. Well, she forgot but I kept reading it and became totally engrossed in this fascinating account of a young woman on the frontier. I love Sandra Dallas' historical fiction, and this one was up to her same standards. I was really surprised to see it has been 10 years since she wrote it. I am sorry that I didn't get around to reading this book sooner! It has suspense, and yearning, motherhood, grief, recovery⦠it was just an excellent read.
reviewed The Diary of Mattie Spenser on + 12 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
One of Sandra Dallas's best! Based on real pioneer diaries, this book allows you to share in the joys and sorrows of the women who pioneered the prairies. An easy and fun read. Highly recommended.
reviewed The Diary of Mattie Spenser on + 193 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Like the other works of Sandra Dallas a throughly enjoyable book. Could not put it down for very long.
reviewed The Diary of Mattie Spenser on + 14 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I really enjoyed this book! The characters are avery real and the story flows very nicely. I had a hard time putting it down. The interaction of the characters with the backdrop of frontier life makes for a great read.
reviewed The Diary of Mattie Spenser on
Helpful Score: 1
Great read! I couldn't put it down. I felt like I was there, making a new home with a new husband in the new land of Colorado Terrritory. Thank God for the luxuries we enjoy today!
reviewed The Diary of Mattie Spenser on + 31 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Loved the format, the content. I am a sucker for plot twists and this provided them. Have now read 2 or 3 of this author's books and enjoyed them all.
reviewed The Diary of Mattie Spenser on
I really enjoyed reading this book. It is a fictionalized journal of a girl traveling with her new husband to make a home on the Colorado territory.
reviewed The Diary of Mattie Spenser on + 526 more book reviews
I started this book because my DIL wanted to read it together. Well, she forgot but I kept reading it and became totally engrossed in this fascinating account of a young woman on the frontier. I love Sandra Dallas' historical fiction, and this one was up to her same standards. I was really surprised to see it has been 10 years since she wrote it. I am sorry that I didn't get around to reading this book sooner! It has suspense, and yearning, motherhood, grief, recovery⦠it was just an excellent read.
reviewed The Diary of Mattie Spenser on + 11 more book reviews
When I picked up this book I was expecting a "Little House on the Praire" type of book. If you are looking for that kind of book, this is not it. It is gritty and at times graphic, I assume a realistic version of the Colorado Territory in the late 1800s. Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it just wasn't what I was expecting. It has interesting characters and learning about life during that time period was fascinating, I could hardly put it down! I hope to read more by this author! It is a fast read and I highly recommend it!
reviewed The Diary of Mattie Spenser on + 49 more book reviews
Loved this book. Great tale of life as a pioneer woman in Colorado Territory in the late 1800's. Mattie was a strong, kind spirited woman. She had to be to survive in a world run by men. She had a great sense of humor! But she also suffered the births and deaths of several children. The loss of friends to death, suicide, domestic violence and capture by Indians. Great story written in the form of a diary.
reviewed The Diary of Mattie Spenser on + 526 more book reviews
: I started this book because my DIL wanted to read it together. Well, she forgot but I kept reading it and became totally engrossed in this fascinating account of a young woman on the frontier. I love Sandra Dallas' historical fiction, and this one was up to her same standards. I was really surprised to see it has been 10 years since she wrote it. I am sorry that I didn't get around to reading this book sooner! It has suspense, and yearning, motherhood, grief, recovery⦠it was just an excellent read.
reviewed The Diary of Mattie Spenser on + 205 more book reviews
I loved the way this book was written. It was like reading a real diary.
reviewed The Diary of Mattie Spenser on + 2 more book reviews
I loved this book. Experienceing the life of a new bride leaving her home and family to start a new life on the Colorado praire was such an interresting story. The narrator, Mattie shares her thoughts and feeling through her diary. The diary kept her going in times of strife. I could hardly put the book down.
reviewed The Diary of Mattie Spenser on + 204 more book reviews
This is a great book about a woman's feeling, fears and hopes as she builds a home for her family in the Colorado territory. Life as a wife on the prarie is nothing like Mattie thought it would be with her new husband in her new home, a soddy with a dirt floor. Her best friend are fellow male settlers and her diary. This is a well written book with characters I only wanted to know more and more about.
reviewed The Diary of Mattie Spenser on + 2 more book reviews
LOVED it! I love this author. She really pulls you in and makes you part of the story. I will be collecting all of Sandra Dallas's books.
reviewed The Diary of Mattie Spenser on + 1105 more book reviews
Unbelievably good. It hooks you from page 1 and never lets go.
reviewed The Diary of Mattie Spenser on + 19 more book reviews
No one is more surprised than Mattie Spencer herself when Luke Spenser, considered the great catch of their small Iowa town, asks her to marry him. Less than a month later, they are off in a covered wagon to build a home on the Colorado frontier. Mattie's only compay is a slightly mysterious husband and her private journal, where she records the joys and frustrations not just of frontier life, but also of a new marriage to a handsome but distant stranger. As she and Luke make a life together on the hars and beautiful plains, Mattie learns some bitter truths about her husband and the girl he left behind and finds love where she least expects it.
reviewed The Diary of Mattie Spenser on + 6 more book reviews
Good read on life in the frontier.
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Wonderful, wonderful book!
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I loved this character so much and wish that there was another book about her. Good book that flows well.
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A joy to read
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I really enjoyed this book. It is about a girl who gets married to a man she hardly knows and moved to out the Colorado Territory to start a homestead with him. She later finds out that she was just a second choice because the woman he really wanted to marry said no. Mattie gets pregnant and has a son. She thinks that her husband is happy and wants to take their son on wagon rides to town for his enjoyment. Later she finds out that he is meeting the other woman and plans to run off with her. I won't tell anymore because I don't want to give the story away. It was a very exciting read, and I found it hard to put the book down.
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The life of a frontier woman is seen through her journal in this finely-tuned novel with well-drawn characters. (RE-POSTED. Listing was removed due to computer problems.)
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An excellent book. Hard to put down!