I saw Kirby Larson at the Humboldt County Author Festival back in October and purchased a signed copy of her book, Hattie Ever After. The rumors were that it was even better than the first, Hattie Big Sky. Better than a Newberry Honor Book? It had to read it!
While I enjoyed Hattie Big Sky (and have a signed copy of this book, too), I have to admit that Hattie Ever After was more engaging. Perhaps it was that the first book was more episodic in the telling, and some of Hattie’s rescues were convenient compared to Hattie Ever After where the storytelling style was richer and more climactic. Hattie still gets into convenient situations in the second book, but I still felt a sense of “atta girl” when she figures out how to leverage her situations. Another reason why I liked the second book more was that I actually know San Francisco better than prairie country so I could relate better to the setting. Also, my first job out of college was working at a newspaper, so Hattie’s dream of becoming a reporter was one I could relate to.
The story picks up after Hattie pays off her uncle’s debt. Her friend, Perilee, wants her to come to Seattle, but plucky Hattie has her ambitions set on San Francisco and becoming a reporter. I found myself cheering for her strength for choosing to try something on her own first rather than taking the easy way out. Go Hattie!
Kirby is a genius with placing historic references in the story, and also with her charming and humorous observations via Hattie. In doing so she added a deep richness to the story, which as a writer, I found myself admiring for a moment before reading on. (That happened a lot!)
Another great thing Kirby does is to gently tap back to the original story to remind the reader of events or characters from Hattie Big Sky.
And then, of course, there’s the romantic part. Two men are vying for her attention, so teenage girls will love Hattie’s struggles to decide whom she should choose. (A nod to some good kissing scenes, too.) Personally, I think Hattie would have been happy with either one. Because she’s one lucky girl who would probably do well no matter what situation she was in!
Fans of Hattie, I encourage you to read Hattie Ever After. You’ll love her even more.