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Hattie Ever After

Review

Hattie Ever After

WARNING: If you haven't yet read HATTIE BIG SKY, there are spoilers for that book in this review of the sequel.

We all know how Hattie Brooks' adventures homesteading her uncle's claim turned out (and if you don't, what are you waiting for? Run, don't walk, to your nearest bookstore or library and lose yourself in the wonderful HATTIE BIG SKY!) Her next adventures begin in June of 1919 where Hattie has been making her living cleaning and cooking in a boardinghouse in Great Falls, Montana. She feels empowered by her homesteading adventures and yet chagrined to find herself working at the kind of job she hoped to escape in the first place. Of course, she feels a great sadness for a devastating loss she experienced in her past, and she wonders how and why she is not with Charlie. She also puzzles over her Uncle Chester's past; he once referred to himself as a scoundrel. What on earth did he mean? Hattie knows something is missing from her life now, but she is not sure what it is or how to go about finding it.

"Hattie is a well-imagined person who seems as real as your best friend, and her adventures in San Francisco are as irresistible as her previous exploits homesteading the plains."

Hattie's ruminations are interrupted by her boss, Mrs. Brown, who is all aflutter over her new guests, actors in a vaudeville troupe. Galvanized by Mrs. Brown's urgency, Hattie starts cleaning with gusto. She is intrigued by the actors when they arrive, and can't resist accepting a job offer as wardrobe mistress with them, particularly since she will be expected to travel with them to San Francisco. This is her chance to do something amazing! However, as soon as she says yes, she has a visitor. It's the (nearly) irresistible Charlie, who announces he is moving to Seattle...and he is not at all pleased with Hattie's plans. Meanwhile, Hattie receives a mysterious letter that was coincidentally sent from San Francisco, addressed to her Uncle Chester, setting up a puzzle that Hattie feels she cannot refuse to unravel.

When Hattie reaches San Francisco, she is in awe of the big city. The hotel she lives in seems unbelievably luxurious. While she is busy with her wardrobe duties, she also has time to scout out her "personal Mecca," the three big newspapers in town. Hattie holds a dream close to her heart --- that she will someday be a reporter for one of these big city newspapers, even though female reporters are extremely rare. On one of her wanderings, she can't help stepping into the building housing the Chronicle. Summoning every bit of her courage, she asks if there are any job openings. The only one she seems qualified for is as a member of the cleaning staff. This seems almost unbearably ironic to Hattie, yet she hopes to somehow, some way, work her way up. Cleaning may be just the first step on the path to fulfilling her reporter dreams. In the meantime, she must track down the mysterious person who sent the letter to Uncle Chester.

As did HATTIE BIG SKY, this lovely novel engrosses the reader, drawing that lucky person deep into Hattie's world. Hattie is a well-imagined person who seems as real as your best friend, and her adventures in San Francisco are as irresistible as her previous exploits homesteading the plains. HATTIE EVER AFTER is a thoroughly enjoyable page-turner. Maybe I'm just being optimistic, but I'd love to believe the ending, while satisfying in itself, could just possibly leave the door open for another sequel...? Fingers crossed!

Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon on January 25, 2013

Hattie Ever After
by Kirby Larson

  • Publication Date: February 12, 2013
  • Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 0385737467
  • ISBN-13: 9780385737463