Review

The Star Garden: A Novel of Sarah Agnes Prine

by Nancy E. Turner

When
we first met the young heroine, Sarah Agnes Prine, in the
award-winning bestseller THESE IS MY WORDS, she rode right into our
hearts. This indomitable, unschooled, almost illiterate teenager
with a zest for life and a zeal for learning epitomized the spirit
that embodied the frontier women of the late 19th century.

Sarah's early life was based on memoirs of the author's great
grandmother who came to the Arizona Territory in the early 1880s,
the West's most exciting era. As Sarah grew to adulthood, married
and started a family, we shared each event through her journals. A
sequel, SARAH'S QUILT, continued the saga, and now we are treated
in THE STAR GARDEN to Sarah in her prime as she keeps a detailed
journal of the events that shape the times and her family's
life.

It is now 1907 and the 20th century has brought the Wells Fargo's
famed Butterfield Stage Line, newspapers, telegraph and mail, and
the automobile to the Arizona Territory. The famed Butterfield
route crosses through Sarah's hard-won property, and it is that
coveted right of way that her powerful neighbor and nemesis, Senor
Maldonado, tries to claim as the railroad schemes with other large
landowners to acquire land in any method they can devise to build
the railway. Sarah, her mother and her nearest neighbor, Udell
Hanna, hold title to key segments of land in the way of the
railroad in a time when land ownership was easy to claim but
sometimes difficult to hold.

As the twice-widowed mother of two young men, Sarah has earned the
notches on her belt from the range and Indian wars, and has
surmounted every obstacle that the harsh Arizona desert, wild land
fires, Apaches and cattle rustlers can throw at her. Her friend and
neighbor, Udell, has progressed from adoration from afar to
courting, but Sarah is not so certain that a third marriage is in
her future. Meanwhile, her eldest son Charlie, returning from a
year away with the Arizona Rangers, brings home a bride --- Sarah's
arch enemy's daughter, whom her father had sequestered in a Tucson
convent. Between the railroad and the unthinkable match between
young lovers from warring families, a smoldering fuse is
relit.

Through diligent research of one of the West's most exciting eras
and with a rich family history to rely on, Nancy E. Turner has
created another page-turning historical family saga. Sarah Agnes
Prine is truly among the fictional heroines of the Old West.

Reviewed by Roz Shea on January 23, 2011

The Star Garden: A Novel of Sarah Agnes Prine
by Nancy E. Turner

  • Publication Date: November 11, 2008
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
  • ISBN-10: 0312363176
  • ISBN-13: 9780312363178