Friday, April 02, 2010

bookfinds @ Kittling: Books --Bonanza!

I feel as though I hit the mother lode this week. While going through one of Paperback Swap's Daily Wish List emails, I came across one book that led me to Amazon and then on to several more titles. No matter how long this post will eventually be, please keep in mind that I've weeded well over a dozen books from it!

My list this week does include some crime fiction. (It wouldn't really be my list if it didn't, eh?) It also shows my strong interest in women's history. I hope you find a title or two that tickles your fancy! Just click on a book's cover to learn more detailed information.

Frontier Teachers: Stories of Heroic Women of the Old West by Chris Enss. "Frontier Teachers tells the stories of a dozen courageous, intrepid women who faced down rooms full of children on the open prairies and in the mining towns of the Old West to bring them educational opportunities."

How the West Was Worn: Bustles and Buckskin on the Wild Frontier by Chris Enss. "Did you know that pioneer women sewed lead in their hems to keep their dresses from billowing on the trail? Or that hatless men had to wear bonnets to protect their eyes from the scorching sun?
From old familiar Levi's to the short-lived "instant dress elevator," How the West Was Worn examines the sometimes bizarre, often beautiful, and highly inventive clothing of the Old West. You'll learn how a cowboy's home state determined the way he wore his pants and hat, as well as how to distinguish one Indian tribe from another by their moccasins. Meet John B. Stetson, leading maker of cowboy hats; Adah Menken, whose flesh-colored nylon costume left an audience gaping at her underwear; and Amelia Jenks Bloomer, the promoter of - you guessed it - the bloomer."

Hearts West: True Stories of Mail-Order Brides on the Frontier by Chris Enss. "WANTED: A girl who will love, honest, true and not sour;a nice little cooing dove, and willing to work in flour. Desperate to strike it rich during the Gold Rush, thousands of men traveled West to the emerging frontier, where they outnumbered women twelve to one. Only after they arrived did some of them realize how much they missed female companionship. Hearts West brings to life true stories of mail-order brides of the Gold Rush era. Some found soul mates; others found themselves in desperate situations. Complete with the actual hearts-and-hands personal advertisements that began some of the long-distance courtships, this fascinating book provides an up-close look at the leap of faith these men and women were willing to take."

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon: Women Soldiers and Patriots of the Western Frontier by Chris Enss and JoAnn Chartier. "From the earliest days of the western frontier, women heeded the call to go west along with their soldier husbands, sweethearts, and parents--but many defied the stereotype of womanhood that allowed them to fill their roles as homemakers on the frontier or disguised themselves in order to serve among the troops in the skirmishes and battles that took place as the burgeoning population of the United States surged West. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon tells the story of these women--Buffalo Soldiers, scouts, interpreters, nurses, and others--who served their country in the early frontier. Women such as Cathay Williams and Renee Arms served as Buffalo Soldiers and Troopers with the cavalry. Martha Summerhayes, a young army wife, smuggled rifles and ammunition to a regiment pinned down in a wash, and Frances Grummond took up arms at the post where her husband was killed."

They Saw the Elephant: Women in the California Gold Rush by Jo Ann Levy. "In the literature of the Gold Rush, women have been generally neglected. Freelance writer Levy here corrects that oversight with a colorful account of intrepid female argonauts--with and without men. She draws on letters, journals and reminiscences for a fresh view of western history. The women traveled overland, by ship round the Horn (one family survived three burning ships); they crossed the Isthmus of Panama by mule, and Nicaragua by steamship and mule. In California they ran boardinghouses, provided meals and laundry service for miners, and organized schools and churches. The cast of characters includes actresses and prostitutes, a stagecoach driver and ordinary women seeking to make a new home."

Radium Halos: A Novel About the Radium Dial Painters by Shelley Stout. "Radium Halos is historical fiction based on the true events of the Radium Dial Painters, a group of female factory workers who, in the early 1920s, contracted radiation poisoning from painting luminous watch dials with radium paint. Our narrator is Helen Waterman, a 65-year-old mental patient who worked at the factory when she was 16. She tells us her story through flashbacks, slowly revealing her past, the loved ones she's lost, and the dangerous secrets she's kept all these years. Includes a Foreword by Leonard Grossman, son of the attorney for the Radium Dial painters."

The Inspector's Daughter by Alanna Knight. "In a desperate attempt to recover from the loss of her husband and her baby son, Rose McQuinn has returned home to Edinburgh from the American Wild West. It seems that everything has moved on in her absence, including her beloved stepbrother who has found favor at court and moved to London. But Rose has little time to ponder her loneliness before she unwittingly steps into the shoes of her father, the legendary Detective Inspector Faro, by agreeing to investigate the strange behavior of Matthew Bolton, husband to Rose s childhood friend Alice. Alice is convinced Matthew is having an affair but Rose suspects he may have been involved in something much more sinister - the brutal and still unsolved murder of a servant girl. If Rose continues her investigations surely she will break Alice s heart. But she is her father s daughter, and she cannot resist the urge to discover the truth. From her isolated home at the foot of Arthur s Seat and aided by a wild deerhound who has befriended her, Rose starts to piece things together, until she gets too near the truth and puts her own life in danger."

Singularity by Kathryn Casey. "Sarah and Bill Armstrong were two Texas Rangers in love. But when Bill died in a car accident, Sarah was left to care for their young daughter, Maggie, and carry on with her work. As a criminal profiler and one of only two females on the force, Sarah has had her share of challenges, but none as harrowing as her current case: a feral serial killer striking with increasing frequency in southeastern Texas. The first murders, of a Galveston tycoon and his mistress, appear to be the act of a vengeful lover. But it soon becomes clear from the crime scene—bodies posed as if in rapture with a bloody cross painted on the wall over the bed—that this is the work of a career criminal on a twisted moral mission. When the FBI is called in, Sarah finds a shrewd and attractive partner in Agent David Garrity. Together, the two track clues that lead to the Texas railroad and a group of menacing gangsters known as the Freedom Fighters. Meanwhile, Sarah must cope with a precocious daughter who misses her dad."

The Gentle Axe by R.N. Morris. "Porfiry Petrovich, the police investigator who worked on the case involving the deranged student Raskolnikov in Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, is given another life in R.N. Morris's The Gentle Axe. It is 1867 in St. Petersburg, Russia, on a cold winter morning. An elderly woman is scouring Petrovsky Park in search of a few sticks of firewood. What she finds instead is horrifying: a big, burly peasant hanging by a rope from a tree, with a blood-covered axe tucked into his belt. Nearby, she finds a suitcase. Packed inside is the body of a dwarf, with a deep head wound caused by an axe. Conventional wisdom says that the peasant killed the dwarf and then, in a paroxysm of guilt and remorse, killed himself. That scenario is good enough for everyone but Porfiry. In a wonderfully atmospheric novel, Morris has created a world-weary protagonist in Porfiry, a man still exhausted from his last case, joined by a collection of absolutely believable characters to flesh out the novel. Mysteries abound and multiply in layers of characterization and narrative. Porfiry's investigation goes on, despite repeated attempts to take him off the case, and it leads him from the dregs of society to its most genteel heights. He follows clues, hunches, people, and stories to get to the bottom of the mystery--and when he does, it comes as a complete surprise, but one that makes perfect sense."

The Judge's Wife: Memoirs of a British Columbia Pioneer by Eunice M.L. Harrison. "Published from the manuscript copy in the National Archives, Eunice Harrison's memoir of life in British Columbia from 1860 to 1906 offers one of the earliest accounts of the province by a woman. With verve and humour she describes everyday life in early Victoria and Vancouver. As a young woman, she travelled across the Strait in the tugboat Etta White to make music, take part in theatricals and witness a Native ceremonial dance. After her marriage to Eli Harrison, a well known circuit court judge, she travelled the Cariboo road with her husband, recording her impressions of justice being meted out in the rough, pioneer world of the BC Interior. Her account of the social customs of the day, through the eyes of a woman, is both acute and in structive. The memoir concludes with her experience of the catastrophic 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire which she lived through while on a visit to the city with her two young children. Her account of the destruction and chaos she witnessed as she made her way to safety through the burning city makes for gripping reading. The Judge's Wife includes many historic photographs."

The Fried-Egg Quilt: A Pioneer Journey to Arizona Territory by Laura Ostrom. "Molly McGinnis faces the greatest challenge of her young life as she and her husband Mac and son Virgil prepare for the pioneer journey to Arizona Territory. The many trails they face, the natural beauty they encounter, the hardships they endure, and the friendships they form as they make their way west are given voice through Molly's journal entries."

The Consorts of Death by Gunnar Staalesen. "When detective Varg Veum takes a telephone call in his office, his mind is suddenly thrust back 25 years, to his days as a child protection officer and the case of a small boy who was separated from his mother under tragic circumstances. This same boy has surfaced in several other cases—in connection with a sudden death in his new foster home and, a decade later, in a dramatic double murder in Sunnfjord. Now that boy is an adult on the run in Oslo, determined to take revenge on those responsible for destroying his life—among them his former child protection officer, detective Veum."

Whew! Good thing I pared the list down considerably, isn't it?

Did any of these titles pique your interest, too? Which ones?


  1. OMG - I want the first five plus Fried Egg Quilt. I'm developing a love for reading about women's history too. I should say I like the pioneer women's history. I just got Perfection Salad from the library which I believe was recommended by you. You are the best/worst influence on me.

    By the way, I like the new "End of Winter" picture.

  2. Frontier Teachers looks perfect for you!

  3. What a great looking set of books! So interesting with all the historical books about women. I love those. I have Singularity, but I have not read it yet (story of my life). I find it interesting that the main character is a woman Texas Ranger. An unheard of thing not that many years ago. Thanks for sharing, Cathy!

  4. Wow what a great collection of books! I think Hearts West looks especially good!

  5. Darn you, Cathe. How am I ever going to pare down my wish list? I own several books about women in the Old West and your list intrigues me, and I love mystery novels set in Russia. You've found a treasure trove this week.

  6. Sorry Cathy, my neighbor spells it Cathe. I'm obviously thinking about all those books. :)

  7. Margot-- I like pioneer women's history more and more as the years pass. You'll have to let me know what you think of Perfection Salad!

    Kathy-- I'd probably be one of the teachers who had to show up at school carrying a gun.

    Kay-- You're welcome. I liked the female Ranger angle of Singularity, too.

    DC-- I honestly don't know which one to choose out of all those women's history books!

    Barbara-- It certainly felt as though I'd discovered a treasure trove. I don't mind the slight misspelling. The one that rubs my fur the wrong way is spelling it with a K. :)

  8. How do you keep a people down? ‘Never' let them 'know' their history.

    "If a race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated."

    Dr. Carter G. Woodson 1875 – 1950

    “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”

    Marcus Garvey 1887-1940

    "A tree without roots can bare no fruit, it will die."

    Erich Martin Hicks 1952 - Present

    Keep telling that history, our history:

    Read the novel; Rescue at Pine Ridge, "RaPR", where Buffalo Bill Cody meets a Buffalo Soldier. A great story of black military history...the first
generation of Buffalo Soldiers.

    The 7th Cavalry got their butts in a sling again after the Little Big Horn Massacre, fourteen years later, the day after the Wounded Knee Massacre. If it wasn't for the 9th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers, there would of been a second massacre of the 7th Cavalry.

    Read the novel, “Rescue at Pine Ridge”, 5 stars Amazon, Barnes & Noble and the youtube trailer commercial...and visit the website

    I hope you’ll enjoy the novel. I wrote it from my mini-series movie of the same title, “RaPR” to keep my story alive. Hollywood has had a lot of strikes and doesn't like telling our stories...its been “his story” of history all along…until now. The movie so far has attached, Bill Duke directing, Hill Harper, Glynn Turman, James Whitmore Jr. and a host of other major actors in which we are in talks with see at;

    When you get a chance, also please visit our Alpha Wolf Production website at; and see our other productions, like Stagecoach Mary, the first Black Woman to deliver mail for Wells Fargo in Montana, in the 1890's, “spread the word”.


  9. If you like a real woman's story, check this out:

    The real ‘Stagecoach Mary’ story:
    Mary Fields, Black Mary, and ‘Stagecoach Mary’ are all one of the same person. Mary was born in 1832, a slave in Tennessee and was owned by a Catholic family; the father was a businessman and Judge who had a single girl child the same age as Mary. Mary’s mother was the House Slave Servant and the judge’s favorite cook; therefore Mary was always in the main house, in the kitchen and not in the fields, as a Field Slave. Mary’s father was a Field Slave, and Field Slaves were not allowed in the Main House, much less, to court a House Slave. Mary’s mother became pregnant by Mary’s father and he was beaten and sold to another plantation for getting Mary’s mother pregnant. After Mary’s birth, Mary’s mother and her were allowed to stay in the main house, and Mary became the Judge’s daughters’ playmate, therefore being the Judge’s daughter’s playmate, Mary was allowed to read and write, a rarity for that time.

    After the emancipation and coming into adulthood, Mary was 6 feet tall and weighed over 200 pounds. Mary became her own woman and traveled solely from Tennessee, up and down the Mississippi River, to Ohio, then finally to Montana where she got her nickname at the turn of the 20th Century. She earned this nickname by working for “Wells Fargo” delivering the United States Mail through adverse conditions that would have discouraged the most hardened frontiersmen of her time. All by herself, she never missed a day for 8 years, carrying the U. S. Mail and other important documents that helped settle the wild open territory of central west Montana.

    Mary had no fear of man, nor beast, and this sometimes got her into trouble. She delivered the mail regardless of the heat of the day, cold of night, wind, rain, sleet, snow, blizzards, Indians and Outlaws.

    Mary was a cigar smoking, shotgun and pistol toting Negro Woman, who even frequented saloons drinking whiskey with the men, a privilege only given to her, as a woman. However, not even this fact, sealed Mary's credentials given to her, her credentials boasted that, “She would knockout any man with one punch”, a claim which she proved true.

    Her fame was so acclaimed, even the Actor, Gary Cooper, two time Academy Award Winner, told a story about her in 1959 which appeared in Ebony Magazine that same year. While, Annie Oakley and Martha Canary (Calamity Jane) were creating their history with Buffalo Bill, Stagecoach Mary was making “her Epic Journey!”

    Despite Mary's hardness, she had another side of her, a kindness so strong, even today, in the beginning of the 21st Century, the town of Cascade, Montana, and other surrounding communities celebrate her birthday.

    The Epic movie is in pre-production mode. Check out website at

  10. Buffalo Soldier--Thanks for the info!

  11. Buffalo Soldier-- Sergeant Rutledge is an excellent movie.


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