Non-Fiction: Women of the Frontier: Sixteen Tales of Trailblazing Homesteaders, Entrepreneurs, and Rabble-Rousers by Brandon Marie Miller

I never tire of reading about the amazing women who made this country great. They are the backbone of the country, and in many ways their struggles and triumphs represent the very best we have ever had to offer.

They are the backbone of the country, and in many ways their struggles and triumphs represent the very best we have ever had to offer.

All of these maybe-truisms are highlighted by the stories of the 16 women featured in Women of the Frontier. The book is part of the Chicago Review Press Women of Action biography series, intended to introduce “young adults to women and girls of courage and conviction throughout the ages.” And though the book is considered to be juvenile non-fiction, readers of all ages will enjoy these fascinating accounts of these female forebears who made a difference.

Colorado businesswoman, Clara Brown, freed from slavery at the age of 57, went west with the hope of finding her daughter, Eliza Jane, who had been sold to another family in childhood. In Central City, Clara made a fortune first in laundry and then real estate. Ultimately she spent the fortune first in trying to find Eliza Jane, then in bringing former slaves to Colorado.

The tale of Cynthia Ann Parker was astonishing. Taken from her family by the Commanche when she was a young girl, Cynthia married a famous chief and had three children with him. When she was recovered from the Commanche by the army and returned to her family 24 years later, Cynthia no longer remembered English and would do little beyond keening for the husband and sons she’d kept behind.

I loved Women of the Frontier completely. Miller brings her subjects to perfect life, recreating a time when even simple acts could be difficult and have great impact. It’s tough not to feel inspired and uplifted by her stories. ◊

News Reporter

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