January 15, 2014

Review: The Diary of Mattie Spenser by Sandra Dallas

The Diary of Mattie Spenser by Sandra Dallas
Historical Fiction
Published 1997 by St. Martin's Press
Paperback of 229 pages
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.

I bought this book for a dollar at a Half Price Book clearance sale last year, as well as Dallas's Buster Midnight Cafe. I picked it up because it's in diary format and had a pretty cover. :) Even though it felt like a month, I finished this book in five days, which is fast for me. It was hard to put down because there is never a slow moment in Mattie Spencer's life.

The beginning sort of intro of this book is about a woman who finds the diary in her neighbor's old things. She then decides to transcribe the diary for her neighbor in her computer. The book then transitions into the meaty diary, where Mattie details her new life in Colorado with her new husband Luke, and how she gets to know him and learns about his past. The end of the book goes back to the woman who found the diary, and it makes you feel like a detective as her and her neighbor flesh out remaining unwritten details of Mattie's life.

I loved every moment of this book, even the sadder chapters. Mattie is very easy to bond with as a reader, and the author did a great job at making Mattie a very seemingly real person. The author addresses social issues, national of the time period, that were very real issues. I'm glad she incorporated those social issues into Mattie's diary, because it made the book all the more believable. I had to keep my phone or a dictionary near by to look up some old-timey vocabulary, which made experiencing Mattie's life and the time period fun and interesting.

It's a thought provoking story, that makes you feel a wide range of emotions; it's been a week since I've finished it and I'm still hanging on to her stories in my head. It's flawless and I give this book five stars.

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