Book Review: The Year We Were Famous

Book Review: The Year We Were FamousThe Year We Were Famous by Carole Estby Dagg
Published by Clarion Books on April 4th 2011
Pages: 256

With their family home facing foreclosure, seventeen-year-old Clara Estby and her mother, Helga, need to raise a lot of money fast—no easy feat for two women in 1896. Helga wants to tackle the problem with her usual loud and flashy style, while Clara favors a less showy approach. Together they come up with a plan to walk the 4,600 miles from Mica Creek, Washington, to New York City—and if they can do it in only seven months, a publisher has agreed to give them $10,000. Based on the true story of the author’s great-aunt and great-grandmother, this is a fast-paced historical adventure that sets the drama of Around the World in Eighty Days against an American backdrop during the time of the suffragist movement, the 1896 presidential campaign, and the changing perception of “a woman’s place” in society.

Why I read this: I actually got a request from the author, which doesn't happen often to me and the more I read about this book, the more I felt driven to read it. And so I did. đŸ™‚

Plot: Based on family stories, Carole has created a fantastic historical fiction novel about a journey of a young woman with her mother from the west coast to the east coast of America during the late 1800s. Scattered with letters, a bit of romance and some serious danger, this is a book you won't be able to put down. I love the added historical markers in this book, talking about woman's suffrage, and meeting president McKinley.

Characters: I loved seeing Clara grow in this novel. She goes from living as she's expected to, possibly marrying the boy next door she's known forever, to traveling across the country with her mother and finding there's more to life than what she has grown up knowing. I also enjoyed getting to know Helga, who you don't quite truly understand until towards the end of the novel.

Relatability: For fans of historical fiction and coming of age stories.

Cover Commentary: Very cute and has a "Wild West" feel to it.

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5 responses to “Book Review: The Year We Were Famous

  1. Zombie Girrrl

    This sounds pretty cool actually. The trailer has totally got me hooked on the story. Nice review!

  2. I read this book last month and could not put it down! Carole Estby Dagg has done a wonderful job weaving this fast paced story. I’ve done a 3 day 60 mile walk before…. and your body falls apart.

    I am amazed at what these women did… and in corset and fru-fru underwear!

  3. I had a hard time putting this book down. The journey Clara and her mother go on is fascinating (and harrowing). (And it’s based on a true story!) I love how Dagg interweaves the history, particularly that of the suffragette movement, into the story.

  4. TYWWF is such an intriguing story. It’s sort of mind-boggling to contemplate WALKING across the country but to do it in 1896 in those shoes! Yikes! Carole Dagg tells a compelling story and puts the reader right smack in the middle of the action! And the best part is knowing it’s all true!

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