12 women. 12 stories. 12 totally fascinating stories.
Each chapter is about a different woman who stood up and did something with her life. Each story teaches women to live boldly, be brave, and to stand up for what you believe in!
Hardship was a common theme as you can imagine for this time period. One of the women lived to be almost 100 so I can only imagine the change she saw in her lifetime from post-Civil War to the mid-1960s.
These women made their mark on the American frontier as entrepreneurs, ranchers, doctors, writers, teachers, philanthropists, and social reformers. They all endured vilification, discrimination, and personal tragedies at levels unimaginable today yet remained determined and strong.
Some lives are already well-documented (although I had never heard of any of them), while others deserve wider recognition. For example, Clara Brown, the former Virginian slave, or Zitkala-Sa, Sioux musician and activist, or Donaldina Cameron from New Zealand, who rescued Chinese girls from forced labor in San Francisco, or Welsh immigrant to Utah, Martha Hughes Cannon, who became the first female State Senator and defeated her own husband on the ballot – a husband she just happened to share with several other wives! Many of the women in this book are Mormon.
The author’s personal anecdotes and opinions at the close of each section was different. There are also many sources and references listed for those who wish to discover more which I plan to do as some of the biographies I wanted way more information on.
Book Summary: Discover the stories of twelve women who “heard the call” to settle the west and who came from all points of the globe to begin their journey. As a slave, Clara watched as her husband and children were sold, only to be reunited with her youngest daughter, as a free woman, six decades later. As a young girl, Charlotte hid her gender to escape a life of poverty and became the greatest stagecoach driver that ever lived. As a Native American, Gertrude fought to give her people a voice and to educate leaders about the ways and importance of her culture.
These are gripping miniature dramas of good-hearted women, selfless providers, courageous immigrants and migrants, and women with skills too innumerable to list. Many were crusaders for social justice and women’s rights. All endured hardships, overcame obstacles, broke barriers, and changed the world.
The author ties the stories of these pioneer women to the experiences of women today with the hope that they will be inspired to live boldly and bravely and to fill their own lives with vision, faith, and fortitude. To live with grit.
Marianne Monson holds a BA in English Literature, and MA in English Pedagogy, and an MFA in Creative Writing. The author of two historical novels, she has a strong interest in the relationship between literature and history. Marianne has taught English and Creative Writing at Portland Community College and BYU-Hawaii, and regularly speaks at writing conferences. She is the author of eight books for children and adults.
“Monson reimagines the campfire tall tale by introducing readers to overlooked talks of many forgotten heroines of the American West. Each biographical story defines perseverance, and there are inspiring examples of courage on each page as well as new lessons in how to live…Monson’s accounts of these women who defied gender roles, who lived and breathed feminism, will resonate with all interested in the long-hidden chapters in American history. A compact, informative, briskly paced, emotionally rich, and eye-opening set of micro-biographies that will change truncated views of the West.” -Booklist
I was not compensated in any way for this review. These are my own PERSONAL thoughts on the book. If you purchase via my Amazon link above I get a teensy tiny percentage of that sale. And believe me……..it’s teensy tiny.