Sixteen year old Hattie Brooks is an orphan. Shuttled from relative to relative throughout her life, Hattie travels to the tiny town, of Vida, Montana, to claim her late uncle’s homestead. She must brave harsh conditions. Also, the book is set in World War I, and Germans are all suspected of being “spies,” and Hattie makes friends with one of the Germans living in the area, and must face the scorn of others. This book’s beginning was a bit abrupt. It didn’t even give time to develop Hattie’s character before she was shuttled off to Montana, but other than that, it was a very enjoyable read. I liked the descriptions of the harsh Montana weather, from freezing winters, to boiling hot summers, and the instability of it all. Also, each chapter started with a letter from Hattie to her friend Charlie, who is fighting in the war. I love Hattie’s character. She’s brave, strong, and resourceful. There is also a wonderful cast of supporting characters. Also, Larson, the author, lives in Kenmore, Washington. The ending of the book is really sad, but a good ending. 283 pages, 4.5 stars.

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