The Diary of Mattie Spenser

The Diary of Mattie Spenser

Book - 1998
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Baker & Taylor
Mattie agrees to marry the town's eligible bachelor, and soon she and Luke have set off to build a home in Colorado, and as they cross the wilderness she learns the truth about her new husband and finds love at last, in a poignant saga of pioneer life. Reprint.

McMillan Palgrave

No one is more surprised than Mattie Spenser 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 company 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 life together on the harsh 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. Dramatic and suspenseful, this is an unforgettable story of hardship, friendship and survival.

& Taylor

Unexpectedly married to the man considered the catch of her hometown, a young woman finds herself traveling via covered wagon to Colorado in search of a new start, with only her reticent husband and her personal journal to keep her company

Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Griffin, 1998, c1997.
ISBN: 9780312187101
Branch Call Number: PS3554.A434 D53 1998
FICTION Dallas Sandra
Characteristics: 229 p. ;,21 cm.


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apollospacefan Aug 12, 2019

Set in Colorado Territory, Mattie Spencer records newlywed life in her journal. Paired with a rigid but respected young man who needs a strong wife, Mattie is often left to fend for herself. The book drags on with hardship after hardship, I almost gave up on it. At the very unfold and come to somewhat of an ending. Interesting read overall to get a feel for the life of a young pioneer family, but fairly bland reading.

Mar 21, 2019

" You are a suitable cook and well made for work, and you'll have plenty of that where we're going. You are a strong-minded woman and not given to foolish ways. I'm glad you're not the type to attract men like bees around the honey." So sayeth the pragmatic, and cold pioneer searching for a woman that can fit the horrors and hardships of the homesteader's grim life, as they waited for four to five years to buy their land from the government after a soujourn on the cruel prairies of the American West. Many stories have been written about this very raw time in American history, but this one is a cry for equality between the sexes as well as being exceedingly controversial and frank about matters of racism, abortion, and the status of women in regards to their roles in the migration to the West. There is no cloying sweet passages here about cozy nights around the home fires and pioneers who are nice to one another and get together for jolly spelling bees. Although their is a certain solidarity amongst the "settlers", there is also the race of the survival of the fittest against Mother Nature, and the nature of man themselves There is a brutality to the world they are creating, and it has no room for sentiment, and this is what is very honestly depicted in the hopeful, yet iconic character of Mattie Spenser. She is able to transcend her station in the world and offers compassion, wit and hope in the crosshatched pages of her secret journal, one that records both her rebellions and her submissions. Outstanding prose as a work of historical fiction. Hard going in respect to the racism of this period of time, but censorship of such is to belie the thoughts and attitudes of thus, which should serve as a lesson to future generations about acceptance and tolerance amongst all people.

Jan 21, 2018

Historical fiction of a pioneer family in the Colorado Territory. Good portrayal of the hard life on the frontier for women including loneliness, illness, death, Indians, extreme weather, and so few resources. Mattie was a strong, stoic character and I enjoyed this well written description of her day-to-day life.

Apr 04, 2016

I think this is my favourite Sandra Dallas novel so far, and I've read several! I really enjoyed it!

Feb 05, 2016

This book did what a good story is supposed to do. It transported me to another time and place and made me believe the characters were real.

mrsgail5756 Dec 06, 2013

The book was okay – but not one of my favorites.

Jul 20, 2013

I Loved this book...I read it, then my husband read it - passed it on to friends...They all really enjoyed it!

prkmbc Sep 10, 2011

July 2005


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Feb 14, 2011

Mattie is a plain woman, swept off her feet in Iowa by an Iowa man who is homesteading in CO. Right after Civil War. He is stuff and domineering, but not real bad, for the times. They take covered wagon out to CO and begin by living outdoors.


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