Thursday, February 10, 2011


For those of you who are enjoying your Kindles , I have found a nice free book you might want to consider. It is called “Letters of a Woman Homesteader” by Elinore Pruitt Stewart.

It is the true account of a woman in the 1900 who decides to homestead in Wyoming. This was before women were allowed to vote and not that many owned property.

Elinore Pruitt was born at Fort Smith, Arkansas, in 1876 and she spent most of her childhood in Oklahoma Her schooling came to an early end when her teacher was lynched by a group of local men.

At the age of fourteen both her parents died. Elinore eventually married a man much older than she. He was killed in an accident, leaving her with a young daughter and not much of a future.

Stewart’s westward journey from Oklahoma was not unlike that of many women homesteaders. She made the bold move when the Enlarged Homestead Act of 1909 gave her the incentive to attempt homesteading.

To insure employment, she answered Scotsman Clyde Stewart’s ad for a "young or middle-aged lady companion and to assist with housework on a Wyoming ranch." She was accepted and moved with her daughter to Wyoming. She homesteaded the 160 acres adjacent to Clyde’s in Burntfork,Wy and eight weeks later they were married.

Writing was one of Stewart’s goals from an early age. Her writing skills were advanced considering her limited schooling. She accomplished this not with formal education but by reading voraciously.

I got the feeling that Elinore would have loved blogging had she been born a century later. She regularly wrote long letters to a Mrs. Coney, a former employer, describing frontier life and the people she met. Mrs. Coney was impressed with the quality and interest of Elinore's letters and arranged for them to be published in The Atlantic Monthly.

These letters were later compiled into the books “Letters of a Woman Homesteader” (1914) and “Letters on an Elk Hunt” (1915). The books are basically a reprint of these letters. This is not a polished or edited work but quite readable and it gives you a look into life on the frontier at the turn of the century.

Though in reality Stewart’s life was fraught with hardships, her writings illustrate the affirmative aspects on the frontier. Her life was often tough but she chose to focus on the positives and not let the negatives draw her down. This lady was a pure optimist.

Her writings are nothing but up beat and the people she meets are for the most part, colorful, quite quirky and amazingly generous of spirit. Her descriptions of the beauty of Wyoming are quite visual and her humor, appreciation of life and accounts of that early way of life and its people, are worth the time and definitely worth five times the price. Oh--- that's right it is free.

Hope you will check it out and if you don't have Kindle, it is in paperback and am sure most libraries carry it.
I found the 1979 movie version of the book, "Heartland" with Rip Torn through Netflix and have it scheduled as my snow entertainment for today.

We got 9 inches of gorgeous snow yesterday and since it is over my shoe tops and I own no boots (yet), I will stay in today after a bit of shoveling , watch the movie and eat popcorn. Some days are just so pleasant.

Have a great weekend.


  1. Pleasant indeed! I will be putting the book and movie on my lists!
    Enjoy your day, Patti!

  2. Did you have your tongue in your cheek when you said that? LOL

    We got a dusting of snow; luckily not enough to keep me home from the first of 5 days of work at the florist.

    I think I"d enjoy that book - if only to make me aware of how much I have to be thankful for!

  3. Thanks for the book recommendation, Patti! It sounds like something I'd enjoy reading, and it's my favorite price, too. :)

  4. I like books like that. Thanks for the heads-up.
    Enjoy your snow--my family back in Vermont are mighty sick of rearranging the stuff. One school system was closed after the last storm because the town could not get the sidewalks cleared in time--simply no place to put the snow except in dump trucks to be carted away.

  5. Bruce got a BN Nook this week. I'll put that on his list to download. Right now he is still figuring out how to use it.

  6. I read that book a few years back. I did enjoy it and was amazed at the way she expressed her feelings in her surroundings. What a gal. You, know, Patti, you just gotta admire the people who take their lives and live it, no matter what circumstances the path took you to. We make our own happiness along the way.
    Good post. Thanks for writing it.
    Love and Peace.

  7. I would love to see the movie. Rip Torn is one of my best liked actors. The name of the movie sounds a bit familiar to me so I am wondering if I might have seen it sometime back and have forgotten it.

    We got just over 8 inches of snow yesterday and we plan to do the same as you today. Enjoy the movie and your day. Hugs

  8. Wow, what an amazing woman, I guess I better not be complaining.

  9. I've often thought that the stories of individual people in times past are far more interesting than the accounts of the generals and politicians in the history books. Enjoy the snow!

  10. You've written a wonderful book review, Patti. I have already downloaded this to my Kindle (on your previous recommendation), but have yet to start reading it. Your review has moved it to the top of my "next" list.

    The snow is beautiful. Whatever amount we received *7"-8"), it will soon be gone. It's hard to believe that by the weekend, we're supposed to have 60 degree weather.

  11. I just downloaded it on my Kindle for Mac. I can't wait to dive right in. It sounds like a grand book.

    Enjoy your new snow. Take pics!

  12. Hi Patti, Sounds like a great read. Thanks for the great review. I cannot imagine being in her shoes. What a woman! Glad someone put her letters into a book. That is super.

    You are so lucky to have gotten so much pretty snow. We only got about 1 inch here --and haven't had many really pretty snows all winter. Oh Well!!!


  13. Sounds so interesting and I love true stories.

  14. Oh! I've seen that movie several times and enjoy it each time. I've not read the books, nor knew that it was a for real story. She was a tough lady with a wonderful spirit.

  15. Oh yes....I still love the feel of a real book and turning pages. Not so much with the Kindle. I get my books at 1/2 Price Books or the library or friends of the library.

  16. Darn I wish I owned a Kindle. I have got to find this book. It sounds great and I love a good book.
    Gretchen and I have to go to Austin today to a writing program maybe I could get her to leave early enough to go to a bookstore.
    Loved how you wrote about this book.
    You my dear are a writer yourself and should do us a really good book or is this what your doing now with your blog. lol I need a copy of your blog.
    Love ya

  17. Still don't have a tablet though I keep toying with idea lately. And I just got I TV which will allow me to download flicks but I have yet to try more than the trailers. I wonder if I should get a Netflix account. Do you really enjoy it?

  18. Oh I liked this book, read it and every book the library had on the subject, one summer babysitting the cows in Oregon.
    Pioneer Women-Lives on the Frontier, or Covered Wagons Series are also good. Those were some spunky women.

  19. Wanda,
    Very much so. Just finished the movie, it goes more into her and her husband where the letters were more about the people she met. It was good though.

    Honest, my tongue was not in my cheek. That was my idea of a really good day.
    I'm sure glad you weren't kept home, I know how you love your work.

    I know free doesn't help you author types but since she has been dead for years, I guess we are only hurting her next of kin.
    Someday I will have to post about how much I have enjoyed your books.
    I love how you help new writers on your blog.

    I know, my pretty little snows are just that, not the juggernauts that steam roll my northern friends. I can't even imagine the melt.

    Miss Dazey,
    Ah, he got the one in color. Once he gets going, I'm sure he will love it.

    I had a feeling you might be familiar with the book being from Wyoming. I admire those who can step out of their comfort zones for a better life.

    I just finished the movie. It went more into the realation ship between the Stewarts than the book but I really enjoyed it. I think Rip was an under apperciated actor.

    Linda Starr,
    I know, as hard as they had it, I don't feel comfortable whining anymore.

    I agree, the people who settled our great country were the true heroes.

    I really think you will enjoy it .
    We are all ready starting to melt here. Darn. Probably won't be long before we will be getting our hands dirty in the garden.

    Sure hope you enjoy it. You can't beat the price. Just saw the movie and it made it all more vivid.

    Me too especially about the early days of our country and what people had to endure.

    Aw, I am sorry for I know you enjoy the snows also. It was negative 2 this AM and over 40 now. We are melting.

    Amber Starr,
    I was surprised when I just saw the movie that nothing was mentioned about the book or that it was based on a true account.
    I used to feel about books like you, now I am a complete Kindle convert.

    Hope you someday get one. It is nice sitting in your living room and having a book dropped into your device.
    Thanks but I will let you and Gretchen do the writing. I am hard put to put out a post twice a week.

    We don't have a theater near here so for me Netflix is a blessing. I love it. So easy and such a huge selection. It would be cheap at twice the price.

    They really had back bones of steel didn't they. I will check out some that you mentioned. Thanks

  20. I agree that Elenore would have liked blogging, I got a kick out of your statement. The movie, Heartland, is an excellent one. You will enjoy it along with your, my stomach is calling me to supper.

  21. I have a shelf-full of books by pioneer women and homesteaders -- obsessed with them -- think I was one in an earlier life, ha...

  22. I wish I had a kendle. that book sounds so good.

  23. I do have a Kindle so thanks for the tip. I know the rigors of living in the West in modern times - can't imagine the hardships of homesteading!

  24. Thanks for sharing. I am going to read this book. My grandmother was a homesteader in Colorado. She died before I was born, but I've wished I could hear her stories so many times.

  25. Oh thank you, Patti! I'm always looking for FREE books for my Kindle! Yae!

  26. I've just uploaded the book! I'm so excited. Please let me now if you have any other recommendations.

  27. I'm off to "purchase" the book as a gift to my kindle and me.

  28. What an amazing blog post made me want to search out the book and the film.....enjoy being cosy and chillin' xx

  29. Just poped back to say I have found that ....
    You can read the first one on line FREE and Amazon has the second in paperback for under £4. Thanks for bringing this lady to my attention xx

  30. I will definitely be looking that book up. Reminds me of books I devoured as a teenager, she wrote about the the settling of this area of Iowa, Bess Streeter Aldrich. I had not thought about her in years, now I am going to see if her books are available as a free download. Thanks!

  31. Your story is great for International Women's Day on the 8th of March!
    So you are having snow!!! We have already some signs of spring visible in the garden, but it is absolutely not certain that winter and snow are over. A few years ago we had snow by the end of March.

  32. I have to run some errands, and the main streets are clear. I finished Jane Eyre on my Kindle and starte an inspriational one, the Great House of God by Max Lucado.

    Have a recent post up and one scheduled for Sunday I think.

  33. Dar,
    Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. I did see Heartland and it focused more on the hardships than her letters. I think she probably put a positive spin on a lot of things. It was nice seeing the actual country.

    I Wonder Wye,
    The pioneer women really had it rough. Most men had more than one wife as the life styles and childbirth just wore them out quite early. I really admire their pluck. Doubt I could do it.

    Sister Three,
    Thanks for stopping by. Think you ought to take the plunge if you like reading. It a marvelous invention.

    I am pretty sure most of us would cave after a week. They were amazing women.

    Retired English Teacher
    I know exactly how you feel. I had a great aunt that had taken a wagon train West. I only was around her for a day but I sat at the foot of her rocking chair spell bound. I so wish I had been allowed more time with her.

    I do hope you enjoy it. If you cruise the Amazon best sellers lists daily, you can oftem catch them free while the reviews build. Then they move to the paid side.
    The hunt is fun.

    Hope you enjoy. I am always delighted when "free" turns into something I wouldn't have minded paying to get.

    Think you will enjoy it since the man she married was a Scot. She often refers to him as a "goot mon". You will probably understand her attempts at his accent better than I.

    Iowa Gardening Woman,
    Thanks, I will check out Bess Streeter Aldrich. Hope we are both successful.

    Reader Wil,
    Wasn't aware of International Women's Day. I'll check it out.
    We had a really late freeze also a few years ago that destroyed many a garden. Lets hope not this year.

  34. Thank you so much for mentioning this book for my Kindle, Patti.

    I have just ordered it and know I will enjoy reading it.

    I haven't been able to read very much in the past two years because my eyes are not as sharp as they used to be. I always needed the Large print books from the library but now I have my Kindle and can make the font as big as I want it.

    Sometimes when my eyes are really tired I make the font so large my screen looks like an eye chart.

    Well, I'm off to do some reading.
    Thanks again for the tip.

  35. I think I saw that movie a very long time ago...I will check it out on to see if that is the case. The book sounds fascinating and I don't have a Kindle but I can certainly get it in Paperback...! I think these kinds of books are wonderful because they are in the "voice" of a real person....Thanks so much for this review Patti...

  36. Sounds like a good book. I finished Jane Eyre over the snow days but had to get out today for 4 errands including pharmacy, allergy shot, printing shop and WM for groceries ( and their shelves were very empty in a number of areas.

    But I lost a lot of reading time, as I was transfixed by the people of Egypt and their desire for freedom. It was inspiring.

  37. "Somedays are just so pleasant" - Yes they are. And, Elinore sounds really interesting. I think that Movie in on the shelf not 10 feet away. Hmmm....It's Friday night and some evenings can be so pleasant, even without snow. :-)

  38. No Kindle here but after our Florica outing I've got to get back to reading. btw retirment living there looks pretty good to this cold Minnesota. Previews on my other blog. :)

  39. Thank you for a lovely tip. I enjoy letters turned into books. "Dearest Friend", letters between Abigail and John Adams, is a favorite, as is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Club. I'll have to sort out how to find it for free as my Kindle is new and I've been surfing the 100 Free Books given.

  40. Thanks for the Kindle recommendation!

  41. Nitwit,
    There are lots of freebies out there for Kindle. I buy some but I have a lot free. This has been good book reading weather.
    Sure hope you are feeling better soon.

    Have you tried the text to speach capabilities that is at the same place where you change font size? Sometimes when my eyes get tired, I let the automated guy read to me. He isn't perfect but he tries.

    That is what I like about them too Naomi. You definitely get the feel of the person.

    Now that is amazing that you have the movie. Hope you got some popcorn and snuggled with Mrs. GQ. When she sees how women used to have to live, she will love you all the more.

    Ah, you have seen Florida at its best. Winters are wonderful. The rest of the year takes getting used to. One week of Spring, one week of Fall and the rest is mind numbing summer.

    Kittie Howard,
    Thanks, I will check out the The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Club. Sounds interesting and is also on Kindle.

    Linda Myers,
    Enjoy and even if you don't, it is free.

  42. Thanks for the book review Patti, I will look for it today. I am really enjoying my Kindle. Sorry to hear y'all got more snow dump- I am so ready for spring!

  43. My Kindle should be arriving on Friday and this book will be my first download. To be followed by several Mark Twain classics.

  44. In some ways I wish I was two people, so one of me could take time to read books like this. As it is, only one of me to tackle all those school books. Do you think I will ever grow up? Dianne

    PS...closer and closer to getting a kindle, so I will note this title. I might as well be completely overwhelmed.

  45. Thanks. Then today I shall sign up for the netflix and try watching some movies to pass the next few weeks of winter. Then I'll get a tablet for Mom's day maybe.

  46. Southwest Arkie,
    Don't feel badly for me. I love the snow and only get depressed when it melts.
    Aren't Kindles the greatest?

    RV Vagabonds,
    You are going to just love your Kindle, especially as much as you travel. Books at the touch of a button.
    I have some Twain also.

    Even when I was going to school and working full time, and partying part time, I still made time for a good book, usually right before sleep. It helps to relax the mind. I can't say enough about the value of Kindles.

    I think you will enjoy Netflix. It is so easy to use. Oh I do hope you get a Kindle for Mom's day. You will just love it.

  47. I have read all of Pruitt Stewart's books, and I have been a fan of hers since 1992. I have viewed "Heartland" several times. I love her work, since my family were ranchers too.

  48. Kathy,
    Thank you for stopping by. You are ahead of me. I still have the Elk hunt book to read. Facinating reading.