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Pickett, "Wasatch Summer: a Novel" (reviewed by Gabi Kupitz) Options · View
Posted: Friday, May 20, 2011 10:39:33 PM

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Title: Wasatch Summer: a Novel
Author: Anola Pickett
Publisher: Bonneville Books/Cedar Fort
Genre: Historical Fiction
Year Published: 2011
Number of Pages: 154
Binding: Soft (pbk.)
ISBN: 978-1-59955-481-5
Price: $9.99

Reviewed by Gabi Kupitz for the Association for Mormon Letters

For eleven-year-old Hannah Turner, life just can’t seem to get more complicated. It is March 1889 in Sego Springs, Cache Valley, Utah. Hannah’s uncle fetches her from school because Hannah’s mother is giving birth. A beautiful dark-haired little Alice arrives a short time later to a family that has had to deal with a lot of hardships during the past year. “Crops had failed. My brother Caleb left to work in Montana. Papa died in January , and we sent word to Caleb. He didn’t come home or write.” When Hannah needs an escape from the harsh realities of life she runs to the hill where her Papa and her four little sisters are buried.

At the beginning of April, Miss Taylor, the school teacher, announces that she has chosen Hannah to sing the solo at the Centennial Day Celebration of President George Washington’s presidency at the end of the month. Hannah is not thrilled and classmate Matthew Colton snorts at the news. Anxious all month long, Hannah manages to get through the solo—barely. In May, school is out for spring planting and all of the associated chores, but for Hannah “something worrying hung in the air.”

That sense of worry is heightened by Mama who announces one day that it will be up to Hannah to take the sheep to summer pasture in the mountains above Cache Valley—alone. Because Hannah’s brother Caleb is incommunicado and taking the sheep to summer pasture has always been his job, it will now be up to a dismayed Hannah to fill in.

At first, Hannah is beside herself at the enormity of the task, but she soon learns that she, too, has reservoirs of untapped courage and stamina. With her uncles’ weekly camp visits, Hannah stays supplied and encouraged. When she meets the Indians summering in the high mountains she gains friends who teach her the ways of living courageously with nature. Most of all, she realizes she is not alone—Heavenly Father is always near. When Hannah returns from the summer pasture with her sheep, she is a feisty now 12-year-old who blows Matthew Colton away—meaning, he now has his eye on her.

From the beautiful front cover to the very last page, dialogue and story draw the reader into Hannah’s world in this little gem. Perfect for the entire family, “Wasatch Summer” is a slice-of-life based on a true story. An “Author’s Note” and “Discussion Questions” are included.
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