After inheriting her Uncle’s land in Montana 16 year-old Hattie sets off to improve the land, stake a claim and finally have a place she can call home. Traveling from Iowa to Eastern Montana, Hattie narrates her struggle of cultivating 40 acres and setting 480 fence posts during a 10 month period. Hattie’s story is also revealed through a series of letters both to and from a friend who is off to war as well as newspaper clippings from back home in Iowa.
Hattie braves the harsh weather, then endless hours of farm work, her homesickness, and her hopeless cooking and most of all she survives the locals who want to buy her land. Hattie’s biggest test lies in her standing up to locals who increase the pressure to be a “loyal American” during World War I and the bigotry towards a local German-American family that Hattie befriends.
This novel is based on Kirby Larson’s great-grandmother who staked a claim on the Montana prairie. Please read the author’s note at the end of the novel.
A wonderful parent-child book group selection that provides a magnificent setting and memorable characters, and a story that may cause you to search for your ancestors and family history.