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These is my Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901 (P.S.) Paperback – April 1, 2008

4.7 out of 5 stars 1,301 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Sarah Agnes Prine Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Based on the real-life exploits of the author's great-grandmother, this fictionalized diary vividly details one woman's struggles with life and love in frontier Arizona at the end of the last century. When she begins recording her life, Sarah Prine is an intelligent, headstrong 18-year-old capable of holding her own on her family's settlement near Tucson. Her skill with a rifle fends off a constant barrage of Indian attacks and outlaw assaults. It also attracts a handsome Army captain named Jack Elliot. By the time she's 21, Sarah has recorded her loveless marriage to a family friend, the establishment of a profitable ranch, the birth of her first child?and the death of her husband. The love between Jack and Sarah, which dominates the rest of the tale, has begun to blossom. Fragmented and disjointed in its early chapters, with poor spelling and grammar, Sarah's journal gradually gains in clarity and eloquence as she matures. While this device may frustrate some readers at first, Taylor's deft progression produces the intended reward: she not only tells of her heroine's growth, but she shows it through Sarah's writing and insights. The result is a compelling portrait of an enduring love, the rough old West and a memorable pioneer. First serial to Good Housekeeping; author tour; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selections. (Feb.) FYI: Selected as the March 1998 Good Housekeeping "Novel of the Month."
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

YA-This novel in diary format parallels the early history of the Arizona Territories as Sarah and her family travel from the New Mexico Territory and settle down to carve out a new life on a ranch near Tucson in the 1880s. Sarah's diary, based on the author's family memoirs, is a heartwarming and heartbreaking fictional account of a vibrant and gifted young woman. Sarah starts out as an illiterate, fiery 17 year old. Eventually, her writing becomes as smooth and polished as Sarah herself as she becomes a tenacious, literate, and loving wife and mother. A treasure trove of discovered books becomes the source of her self-education. Turner describes the trip in such detail that one has a sense of having traveled with Sarah, experiencing all of its heartache and sadness, its backbreaking exertion and struggles, its danger and adventure, its gentle and lighter moments. Life in the new country brings the constant fear of Indian raids and the threat and reality of floods, fire, and rattlesnakes; bandits; rough men, and pretentious women all have an effect on the protagonist but her strong marriage makes the effort worthwhile. Sarah centers her world around her home and family but maintains an independent spirit that keeps her whole and alive throughout her many trials and heartaches. This is a beautifully written book that quickly captures readers' attention and holds it tightly and emotionally until the end.
Dottie Kraft, formerly at Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: P.S.
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; P.S. edition (April 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061458031
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061458033
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,301 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,416 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
These Is My Words begins with Sarah Prine's family pulling up stakes and traveling toward a new home in the early 1880s. Deciding to record the events of her life in a diary, Sarah takes us step-by-step through the real tragedies of life on a frontier but also through the triumphs that make life bearable. Sarah is a tough young woman who is a sharpshooter, both with a rifle and her spirit. Young and impressionable, she finds out that people and events are not always what they seem and she makes plenty of mistakes along the way. The love story between she and Captain Jack Elliott is one of the best I've ever read; you can feel the love between the two jump off the page and grab you around your own heart. Finding a stopping place in this wonderful book is next to impossible and to say that your soul will become involved is to state the obvious. Sarah and her stories will live a very long time within me. This is historical fiction at its absolute best. Highly, highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
This is a book that I would never have picked out on my own but I'm so thankful that it was recommended to me by a poster on one of the book boards. Just the cover alone makes the purchase worthwhile. I especially liked the way Nancy Turner wrote this book in the form of a diary which is written over the course of 20 years. The two main characters, Sarah Prine and Captain Jack Elliott, are larger than life. She's smart, great with a gun and stubborn. He's ornery, romantic and loves her more than life itself. What a match and what a book. I recently recommended this to my book group and they've been raving about it ever since. My only disappointment is that I had to finish it.
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By A Customer on February 10, 1999
Format: Paperback
I work casual hours in a bookstore and my manager picked up These Is My Words to let me know that it was on the New Releases list. The title had me at once. I bought it immediately.
Never have I felt so as one with a novel. Reading Sarah's entries, I too fought those Indians, felt the hurt with the loss of loved ones and loved Jack. On more than one occaison, I found myself in the most absurd places reading this story, (one morning for an hour sitting on the edge of the bath tub). I have been waiting for a book like this my whole life and now that I have found it, I doubt anything can replace it.
Nancy Turner's characters are vivid, believable, real. They grow through the course of the novel to become your friends, family and loved ones. I have never cried, laughed and siged with relief so many times through one book. I just hope that this treasure stays safe within yellowing pages and bypasses the big screen.
Truly amazing, an adventure everyone should have. Thank-you so much Nancy Turner!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Like many other reviewers, I read this book in a few sittings, staying up until the wee hours of the morning, and neglecting my husband and kids (except for reading parts to my 7-yr. old daughter), because I was so involved in Sarah's life. I read it on the treadmill, in the car, making dinner, at work...just couldn't put it down. I love how the story starts, with Sarah's "quaintly uneducated" narrative, watching her prose progress to the likes of a great teacher. I loved all the main characters, especially Jack, Sarah, and Savannah and feel as though I've learned much about life from them. Pioneer women are truly heroes, and I want to know more about them and their incredible experiences.
My eyes have red rings around them today as I totally lost it at the end. I had water coming from every hole in my head and snuck to the bathroom before my husband could see me and make fun of me. I've even begun to cry numerous times just reading these reviews. Jack wasn't perfect but his love and devotion to Sarah and the kids was amazing. I hated the irony of what finally happened to him and was hoping he would stay. The romantic parts of the book were tastefully done, yet I couldn't get enough of those either. I just didn't want it all to end and will reread it immediately, savoring it this time and picking up things I missed before.
Ms. Turner: Thank you for such a riveting work. Please do a sequel! I kept thinking and hoping that Sarah would end up a Professor of Latin at the new University in Tucson. (It was also baffling to me that Sarah didn't explode in anger that her husband opened her test grade, presenting the paper to her as a gift, for her birthday) She's only what, 38 when the story ends, so there's so much left for her to do and share about herself and family!
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Format: Paperback
Sarah Agnes Prine, the heroine of Nancy E Turner's first novel, "These Is My Words", is a strong -- and strong-minded -- young woman. Raised with a passel of brothers, she learned to hunt, ride bareback, and "shoot a tick off a dog's back" at an early age. Written journal style, the story chronicles Sarah's life in the Arizona Territory from 1881 to 1901. It details encounters with Indians and outlaws, immigrants and soldiers, especially one particular Army captain whose path seems to cross hers frequently. Sarah's journal records births and deaths, many violent, and some by her own hand. It tells of her first, loveless marriage, and following her husband's untimely death, her second marriage to Captain Jack Elliot. "I love him with all the love I have ever had," she wrote. Sarah is a lusty, gutsy, surprising heroine with a healthy share of feminism for her time. The book, winner of the Arizona Author Award and finalist for the Willa Cather Literary award, offers an intriguing glimpse of southwestern history as lived by real people. A thoroughly absorbing and enjoyable read.
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