Sunday, November 6, 2016

"Letters on an Elk Hunt by a Woman Homesteader" by Elinore Pruitt Stewart

Do you remember just about a year ago when I read Letters of a Woman Homesteader by Elinore Pruitt Stewart and went kinda ga-ga over it?

Yeah, there's a sequel.  And I'm ga-ga again.

I was a little worried, going in, that this wouldn't be as good as the first book, for several reasons.  One was that reviews I'd read of them both had been much less enthusiastic about this book than the first.  The other is that I knew that, while the letters in the first book weren't intended for publication when Pruitt wrote them, these were.  She wrote them to the same friend who collected up the first bunch and insisted Pruitt let her publish them.  They were so popular that Pruitt wrote these letters with the idea that they could make a second book.  And one of the things I loved so much about the first book was how natural and unaffected Pruitt's writing was.  Her letters in it are chummy and relaxed.  I worried these wouldn't be.

And the first couple did feel to me like she was writing with the idea, "These will be published" kind of restraining her writing.  They aren't exactly stiff, but they're not delightful either.  Happily, after the first couple of letters, Pruitt settled back into the same convivial style as before, and I found myself chortling with glee.  I also simply could not put this book down, and finished it in about a day.

While the first book discussed Pruitt's adventures homesteading, this one is all about an elk hunt she and her husband go on with some of their friends.  They encounter all kinds of interesting people, help some folks out, get helped out by others, and generally enjoy being out in the wide world.  I found it enthralling.  Not quite as wonderful as Letters from a Woman Homesteader, but nearly so.

Particularly Good Bits:

We saw many deserted homes.  Hope's skeletons they are, with their yawning doors and windows like eyeless sockets (p. 25).

The trunks of the quaking aspens shone silvery in the early sunlight, and their leaves were shimmering gold.  And the stately pines kept whispering and murmuring; it almost seemed as if they were chiding the quaking aspens for being frivolous (p. 82).

This is why cowboys are such well-loved figures of romance is fact.  "Greater love hath no man than this:  that he lay down his life for his brother."  They knew nothing about us only that we were defenseless.  They rode boldly on their stanch little horses flanking the frenzied steers (p. 148, about being rescued from a stampede).

I had not expected to encounter so many people or to get the little inside glimpses that I've had, but wherever there are human beings there are little histories (p. 161).

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  PG for descriptions of people facing hardships and danger that might overwhelm young readers.

This is my 49th book read and reviewed for The Classics Club!!!  One more, and I'll have completed my goal of 50 books!  Pretty sure I'll finish at least one by the end of the year, so I'm looking at finishing the challenge in three years instead of five.  Wow.

This is also my 17th book for the Women's Classic Literature Event.


  1. I am so impressed that you are going to finish your Classics Club challenge early. I keep intending to read for it and then getting distracted by other books. I will have to do something about that.

    I read these books a few years ago and greatly enjoyed them. I caught myself thinking that it would be nice to reread them but I think I had better not do that. I will concentrate on the Classics Club instead!

    1. Well, you know... rereads are totally allowable for the Classics Club. That's what made me decide I could sign up for it (well, that and the fact that you could change your list as you went along), because I dearly love to reread books, and if I had to stop doing that just to finish some self-imposed challenge, I was probably never going to do the challenge at all. So my rereading of the Anne books has counted, and so many others. Nineteen of my 49 titles have been re-reads. It remains to be seen whether I'll finish Jane Eyre (re-read) or The Blythes are Quoted (new to me) first to complete my list. And then I'm just going to challenge myself over again because my CC list currently has 106 titles on it, so I'll just set in to read 50 more in the next 5 years.

  2. Oh, I'm going to have to read this one!

    I loved Letters of A Woman Homesteader, and your review makes me long to dive into this one!

    1. Annie, if you liked her first book, pretty sure you'll like this one too. It's a keeper!


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