Hattie Ever After
Delacorte Press, 2013
Truly noteworthy books aren’t judged just as a successor to the previous book; they’re judged on their “stand alone” merits. As in, could this book be a great book without its predecessor (Hattie Big Sky, a 2007 Newbery Honor). In Hattie’s case, most definitely yes!
How do I know this? I read Hattie Ever After “cold” from netgalley in ARC form. By “cold,” I mean that I haven’t read Hattie Big Sky. Now, however, Hattie Big Sky has just moved much higher in the TBR pile!
Hattie’s character and voice are so genuine and warm; she’s the kind of book character you are drawn to and feel sort of nostalgic on behalf of. Many people have this same sort of artificial nostalgia for Laura Ingalls and her time period. Hattie Ever After brings us to the early 20th century when women are struggling with the return to the domestic homefront after helping out professionally with the war effort. This tension is dealt with well in Hattie Ever After. The importance of human relationships–especially marriage–comes through alongside the understandable interest, for young women like Hattie, in pursuing a career dream (in her case, newspaper reporting).
I really enjoyed the setting, the characters, the pacing, the plot in this little gem. I really, really liked the ending–a very appropriate balance of authenticity for the time period with Hattie’s career aspirations. Historical details were thrown in naturally (such as Hattie gazing up the at the “large” 10-story newspaper building), worked into letters, and communicated effortlessly in conversations. The ending was a bit predictable, but that didn’t spoil the book for me. All in all, a great read and a sweet love story just in time for Valentine’s Day!
Recommended for middle grades and up; look for this book in local bookstores in mid-February and in libraries shortly thereafter! (you can always request your local library to purchase a book!)