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The Diary of Mattie Spenser
The Diary of Mattie Spenser
Author: Sandra Dallas
No one is more surprised than Mattie Spenser herself when Luke Spenser, considered the great catch of their small Iowa town, asks her to marry him. Less than a month later, they are off in a covered wagon to build a home on the Colorado frontier. Mattie's only company is a slightly mysterious husband and her private journal, where she records th...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780312187101
ISBN-10: 0312187106
Publication Date: 5/15/1998
Pages: 240
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.

4.2 stars, based on 180 ratings
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover
Members Wishing: 0
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed The Diary of Mattie Spenser on + 45 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
An intensely vivid portrait of historic fiction ~ I couldn't put it down and am very eager to read more by this talented author!

Mattie Spenser's diary contains the flip-side of what we all pictured frontier life to be in the air-brushed "Little House on the Prairie" vision many of us grew up with.
reviewed The Diary of Mattie Spenser on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
I'd read this book long ago and lent it to a friend and never got it back. I loved it then, and couldn't remember the name of it after awhile. I was so pleasantly surprised when another friend of mine purchased it and I reconnected with it. I was as enthralled with the second reading of it as I was with the first. So, I've just requested this for my permanent bookshelf. I'm sure I will enjoy it again someday.
sewingnancyl avatar reviewed The Diary of Mattie Spenser on + 78 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
Wonderfully written journal style book of a young woman who marries and goes to live in Colorado Territory in 1865
reviewed The Diary of Mattie Spenser on + 471 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
The buoyancy and simple, uncloying sweetness of spirit of Dallas's appealing protagonist--the young wife of a homesteader in Colorado Territory--give a bright, fresh shading to the tragedies and small sharp joys of 19th-century frontier life. Again, as in The Persian Pickle Club (1995), Dallas has caught the lilt and drift of regional speech. At 22, plain Mattie is astounded that handsome Luke Spenser desires to marry her--he has been keeping company with pretty Persia. Nonetheless, he chooses her, and they head out from Iowa in May 1865 to the homestead Luke has already planted in Colorado Territory. There are pleasures along the way: nice folks, and quiet days spent with Luke, her ``Darling Boy.'' But Luke, who doesn't smile at her jokes, works very hard and doesn't like her to flirt with him. As for the marital act: ``I still think it's overrated.'' Danger comes soon enough, and it's Mattie's quick shooting that saves two lives, although she doesn't seriously contradict Luke's dismissive observation that it was a ``lucky shot.'' Once they arrive in Colorado, though, Mattie is disappointed by the homestead (out on the plains, she finds, there is ``too much sky''). Her education in the real travails of people, particularly women, separated from the cushioning platitudes and quick-step judgments of home, begins immediately. A despised ``slattern'' proves herself a true friend; Mattie witnesses women weakened by too many births, another abused and horribly killed, and murder and torture by both whites and Indians. She also experiences wild joy and then tragedy, suffers many dangers, and is rocked by Luke's sudden betrayal. (``How could he ever again be my Darling Boy?'') Yet torment yields to endurance and a kind of compassion. Tragedies and sad little domestic dramas are muffled within the decency and humanity of a character whose understanding--but not essence--changes with events. A modest, appealing novel with a convincing reach into Colorado's plains and skies.
PBSmaven avatar reviewed The Diary of Mattie Spenser on + 107 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
I just finished this one and I hated for it to end. I loved it. You get so involved with Mattie's life. I just couldn't put this one down. You'll love it.
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aprillynn avatar reviewed The Diary of Mattie Spenser on + 74 more book reviews
Adult version of the Little House on the Prairie series. Written in diary format, it was very heartbreaking what Mattie endured during her homesteading time in Colorado after marrying quickly and traveling west. A very quick read.

T/W: Child Death, Abuse, Murder
reviewed The Diary of Mattie Spenser on + 1111 more book reviews
CONTAINS SPOILERS Very well written and probably accurate, but at a certain point I just couldn't take another calamity befalling this poor woman. Every crisis of the plains that you can imagine happens (blizzard, tornado, Native American attack, hailstorm, crop failure, dust storm) and many personal tragedies too (stillbirth, miscarriage & death of child, domestic violence & death of neighbor, adultery, depression). The look of the book and the tone of the diary make it feel pleasant, but the contents are not!
reviewed The Diary of Mattie Spenser on + 205 more book reviews
I loved the way this book was written. It was like reading a real diary.
mommy2girlz avatar reviewed The Diary of Mattie Spenser on + 13 more book reviews
When I picked up this book I was expecting a "Little House on the Praire" type of book. If you are looking for that kind of book, this is not it. It is gritty and at times graphic, I assume a realistic version of the Colorado Territory in the late 1800s. Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it just wasn't what I was expecting. It has interesting characters and learning about life during that time period was fascinating, I could hardly put it down! I hope to read more by this author! It is a fast read and I highly recommend it!
Kmarie avatar reviewed The Diary of Mattie Spenser on + 529 more book reviews
I started this book because my DIL wanted to read it together. Well, she forgot but I kept reading it and became totally engrossed in this fascinating account of a young woman on the frontier. I love Sandra Dallas' historical fiction, and this one was up to her same standards. I was really surprised to see it has been 10 years since she wrote it. I am sorry that I didn't get around to reading this book sooner! It has suspense, and yearning, motherhood, grief, recovery⦠it was just an excellent read.
Page5 avatar reviewed The Diary of Mattie Spenser on
I really enjoyed reading this book. It is a fictionalized journal of a girl traveling with her new husband to make a home on the Colorado territory.
reviewed The Diary of Mattie Spenser on + 4 more book reviews
I loved this book. The author does such a convincing job of the time period you forget that it is fiction and start to believe it is a biography. The main character Mattie Spencer has a golden heart and you cannot help but fall in love with her. I read it 4 weeks ago and it is still pressing on my mind. A great author. I am reading a collection of her other works.