Book Review of Hattie Big Sky

Hattie Big Sky
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Reviewed by Grandma Bev for

To me, the main criteria for a good book is a cast of great characters, and this book definitely has that. Hattie is a very mature 16-year-old. She is an orphan who has been raised by first one relative and then another, and now she finds that she has inherited a homestead from an uncle that she never really knew. Her best friend has just joined the army to go fight the Kaiser in Germany at the outbreak of World War I. Hattie boards a train with her cat, Mr. Whiskers, to claim her new home in Montana.

When she arrives, she discovers that she will be required to finish "proving up" on the an enormous amount of fence, and plant eighty of the three-hundred-and-twenty acres in wheat and flax, and she only has eight months left to accomplish this. The house is a one-room cabin that is barely habitable, and winter has Montana in its grip. Her livestock consists of a very congenial horse, and a contentious cow.

Hattie is a very resourceful girl, but life is difficult. Most of her new neighbors become fast friends, but some desperately want to claim her land for their own. Her dear friends, the Mullers, suffer bad treatment because of their German heritage and the War.

This is a fast-paced story of adventure with friendship, heartbreak, and joy. The believable characters will remain with you long after you have read the book, and the handsome villain isn't all bad. The suspense in this very entertaining book builds to a surprising climax that I didn't anticipate. Larson adds a couple of interesting-looking recipes in the back of the book that I'm anxious to try out, along with a bibliography of other great reading about the American West and homesteading.