Tomboy Bride

by  Harriet Fish Backus, foreword by Pam Houston.
Title:  Tomboy Bride: A Woman’s Personal Account of Life in Mining Camps of the West
Genre:  Western; Nonfiction.
Publication Date:  1969
Number of Pages:  306
Geographical Setting:  Telluride, CO; British Columbia; Idaho; and Leadville, CO
Time Period:  Early 20th Century
Series (If applicable):  N/A
Plot Summary:  Harriet Fish leaves her comfortable modern life to follow her high school sweetheart to the heights of the San Juan Mountains in Colorado.  This endearing true story details what life was like for the wife of a miner at the end of the glory days of the old west.  The story truly begins in the Tomboy Mines, high up above Telluride, CO.  There is only one road between Tomboy and Telluride and during winter it’s barely wide enough for two riders to pass each other.  The adventures that the young couple faces at the Tomboy mines are just the beginning of their story.  They face floods and fire in British Columbia, isolation in Elk City, Idaho and deadly storms and claim jumpers in Leadville, CO.  Through it all, it is the love that Harriet and George have for each other and their family that sees them through. This is a story about female relationships, daily struggles, survival, adventure, and love.

Subject Headings:  Western; Nonfiction; Colorado; British Columbia; Idaho; Mining; San Juan Mountains; Rocky Mountains; 20th Century; High Altitude Cooking.

Appeal:  Endearing; leisurely-pace; densely written; funny; real; human and animal struggles; female relationships; character-centered; descriptive settings; straightforward; women; romantic; western; nostalgic; historical details.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: descriptive settings; female relationships; historical details.

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:
A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains by Isabella Lucy Bird.  This is the story of a woman who travels through the Rocky Mountains unaccompanied in the 1870s, her remarkable story is captured in her letters back to her sister in England.
Ghost Towns of the Mountain West: Your Guide to the Hidden History and Old West Haunts of Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Utah, and Nevada by Philip Varney.  This book provides maps, descriptions, and stories of ghost towns throughout the West.  Those who enjoyed reading about the mines from the perspective of someone who lived at that time might enjoy reading about what they’ve become.
Silver Queen: The Fabulous Story of Baby Doe Tabor by Caroline Bancroft.  Bancroft tells the true story of the 2nd wife of Horace Tabor, a tale about a woman who had it all and lost it all.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:
My Ántonia by Willa Cather.  The classic story of an immigrant who must make her way in the American West.  There is an emphasis on the female characters; this is a love story, coming of age novel and a western.
Woman of the Frontier by Zane Grey.  The story of the struggles and hardships of a pioneer family trying to survive in Arizona.  Depicts strengths, struggles, and weaknesses of women trying to make it in the West.
These is my Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine by Nancy Turner.  Turner tells the story of an uneducated pioneer woman who, against all odds, educates herself and learns how to survive and thrive in the “wild west”.                       Name:  Jessica Lake


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