16 August 2016

Today's Read: Trials of the Earth by Mary Mann Hamilton

Review: Trials of the Earth by Mary Mann HamiltonCould you picture yourself as a pioneer woman? In 1884, at the age of eighteen, Mary Mann Hamilton moved with her new husband to the muddy wilderness of the Mississippi Delta to start a new life.

In the early 1880s my father brought his family from Missouri down into the wild country of Arkansas that was just beginning to settle up. The Kansas City and Memphis [Railway] was just being graded through, and trains were running only as far as the little sawmill town of Sedgwick, so there we stopped to wait until the road was completed into the prairie country near Jonesboro, where my father expected to buy a home. Within a week he took pneumonia and three days later died, leaving my mother and six children stranded and helpless in a strange country.
Trials of the Earth by Mary Mann Hamilton (Little, Brown, 2016, p. 3)

Quick Facts
  • Setting: Arkansas and Mississippi, 1880s on
  • Circumstances: The true story of a pioneer woman
  • Genre: autobiography
  • Something to know: Hamilton wrote her book to enter a publishing contest in the 1930s. Although she didn't win, she kept the manuscript, which was discovered and published by the University of Mississippi Press in the 1990s. The writing contest that inspired Hamilton was sponsored by Little, Brown, which recently acquired the rights to the book that got away and republished it last month, giving this amazing story a wider audience.
  • Thoughts: I'm still reading, but I can tell you that Hamilton holds nothing back--the brutal daily workload, the rough life of a logging camp, the violence of the backwoods, and the constant dangers. Hamilton's incredible physical and mental strength shine through this autobiography, though she is unassuming as she tells her story. Despite the rigors of pioneering life, she loved her children, admired the beauty of the natural world, and made deep friendships.
  • Recommendations: This is an important and fascinating firsthand account of the waning pioneer days told from a woman's viewpoint and set in a region few Americans associate with homesteading. If you like true stories, autobiography, and/or history revealed from a personal perspective, you must add Mary Mann Hamilton's Trials of the Earth to your list.

20 comments:

karen 8/16/16, 6:47 AM  

I love that the same company that turned it down originally is the same that's put it out now. Hopefully her ancestors (if there are any) can benefit in some way. Definitely one I'll keep my eyes open for!

rhapsodyinbooks 8/16/16, 6:54 AM  

I wouldn't last two seconds as a pioneer woman!

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea 8/16/16, 7:31 AM  

Hadn't heard of this one previously but, it does sound pretty good. Thanks for sharing.

Laura 8/16/16, 7:58 AM  

I like stories set in that time period. It's definitely a plus that it is from a woman's point of view. Thanks for sharing it. My Teaser

(Diane) bookchickdi 8/16/16, 8:06 AM  

That excerpt really grabbed my attention. This is the type of book I loved to read as a teen, true stories about strong wooden, I'm definitely putting this on my TBR list, thanks for bringing it to my attention.

PD Workman 8/16/16, 8:36 AM  

Sounds interesting!

Mine this week is from Nerve by Jeanne Ryan, recently adapted to the silver screen https://wp.me/p3Nz8P-JD

Monica's Bookish Life 8/16/16, 8:40 AM  

I love the cover and the opening. This is definitely something I'd read!

Here's mine:
http://monicasbookishlife.blogspot.com/2016/08/first-chapter-first-paragraph-tuesday.html

Kathy Martin 8/16/16, 8:46 AM  

Books like that make me glad I am living now with all my modern conveniences. My teaser this week comes from Curious Minds by Janet Evanovich and Phoef Sutton. Happy reading!

Laura Thomas 8/16/16, 8:55 AM  

I'm with Kathy. Glad I'm not living in those times. But I do enjoy reading about it.

My TT from The Madonna Of Notre Dame

Emma at Words And Peace / France Book Tours 8/16/16, 9:22 AM  

thanks for presenting this book. sounds like one I would enjoy. my post is here: https://wordsandpeace.com/2016/08/16/teaser-tuesday-august-16-2016/

Karen White 8/16/16, 9:31 AM  

Such an interesting publishing journey!

Katherine P 8/16/16, 9:46 AM  

This sounds fascinating and the story of how the book came to be is just as interesting! I don't think I would've done well as a pioneer woman. Especially not here in the South in pre-air conditioning days!

bermudaonion 8/16/16, 10:00 AM  

Nope, I couldn't picture myself doing that at all!

Vicki 8/16/16, 10:27 AM  

I like the sound of this, I might add it to my list.

Margot 8/16/16, 11:07 AM  

I love a good pioneer story. I want to read this one. I do hope its as good as that first paragraph.

Daryl 8/16/16, 11:54 AM  

there was a time i would have jumped to read this ... but thanks to you i have way too many other books to read ... but thanks for the review and i will put this on my TBR list ...

Laurel-Rain Snow 8/16/16, 12:13 PM  

I don't read a lot of historical fiction, but this one grabbed me, as I visualized the struggle of the woman and her children. Thanks for sharing, and here's mine: “LEAVE ME”

Iliana 8/16/16, 5:08 PM  

I wouldn't have made it as a pioneer woman. Sounds like a fascinating account!

Heather Fineisen 8/16/16, 6:51 PM  

I like the setting and the opening. I would keep reading. Enjoy!

Alice Audrey 8/18/16, 12:55 AM  

What an awful reversal of fortune!

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