Sarah Agnes Prine begins her diary in 1881 when her father decides to move the whole family - and their horse ranch - from Arizona Territory to Texas, where life will be easier. Sarah, at seventeen, is a tomboy though she longs to be educated, gracious and beautiful like other women. But when the family sets out on the wagon trail and disasters strike in rapid succession, Sarah turns out to be the only thing that keeps them from certain death.
Sarah stays brave, strong and determined through everything that befalls her. But she longs to be loved, like any other woman, and she is to meet her destiny in Captain Jack Elliot.
Based on the real-life exploits of the author's great-grandmother, this fictionalized diary vividly details one woman's struggles with life and love in frontier Arizona at the end of the last century. When she begins recording her life, Sarah Prine is an intelligent, headstrong 18-year-old capable of holding her own on her family's settlement near Tucson. Her skill with a rifle fends off a constant barrage of Indian attacks and outlaw assaults. It also attracts a handsome Army captain named Jack Elliot. By the time she's 21, Sarah has recorded her loveless marriage to a family friend, the establishment of a profitable ranch, the birth of her first child--and the death of her husband. The love between Jack and Sarah, which dominates the rest of the tale, has begun to blossom. Fragmented and disjointed in its early chapters, with poor spelling and grammar, Sarah's journal gradually gains in clarity and eloquence as she matures. While this device may frustrate some readers at first, Taylor's deft progression produces the intended reward: she not only tells of her heroine's growth, but she shows it through Sarah's writing and insights. The result is a compelling portrait of an enduring love, the rough old West and a memorable pioneer. First serial to Good Housekeeping; author tour; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selections. FYI: Selected as the March 1998 Good Housekeeping "Novel of the Month."