10 books like An Old Settler's Story

By Larry Dean Reese,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like An Old Settler's Story. Shepherd is a community of 6,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Three Little Things

By Patti Stockdale,

Book cover of Three Little Things

Set during World War I and inspired by letters of the author’s grandparents, this delightful novel is filled with a fetching cast of characters and borne along by the author’s entertaining sense of humor. The narration reminds us that many folks were suspicious of people with German ancestry during the war, even though they were American citizens and even using the common term “gesundheit,” and that children of German immigrants were drafted to fight against their parents’ former countrymen.

Young Iowa men were trained into soldiering, where there were still rivalries—some about girls back home, some about German sympathies—and sent across to fight the Kaiser’s troops in France. Some didn’t return home, some came back with broken bodies. There is a compelling scene with wounded veterans in a local hospital, at least one scarred on the inside and fighting his own private battle.

This winsome story also carries themes of…

Three Little Things

By Patti Stockdale,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Three Little Things as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Two Sisters' Secret

By Diane T. Holmes,

Book cover of Two Sisters' Secret

I'm drawn to family stories and saw the author interviewed on a local TV station, so I knew I'd enjoy reading her book. It's a story that needed sharing, about sisters who immigrated from Germany. The much younger one (Bernadine) was so ambivalent about leaving Germany, about being left behind in Iowa when the older sister (Elizabeth) married and moved away. Even after marrying and having so many children of her own, then was widowed, Bernadine struggled.

Bernadine's life became even more fascinating after she married a man who wasn't really as she'd thought. And there were unpleasant surprises with two adult daughters. By then, I'd forgotten about the original secret, so when it was revealed, it came as a surprise.

Two Sisters' Secret

By Diane T. Holmes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Two Sisters' Secret as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Pioneer Girl

By Andrea Warren,

Book cover of Pioneer Girl: A True Story of Growing Up on the Prairie

My Grandma Leora's family "went bust" in NE Nebraska during the 1890s drought. The McCance family stuck it out in central Nebraska during the same time. Grace McCance remembered so many dear details, like making horses from tumbleweeds, Indians learning German as a second language, the battle over wearing a bonnet, a pet rooster that liked to visit while feasting on grasshoppers. Grace was the second daughter in a family of seven girls and two boys. She hoped one day to make the most beautiful quilts and to marry a cowboy, which she did. They camped out the first night, then had their wedding portrait taken the next day.

Decades ago, I did a lot of quilting, so was familiar with the remarkable Flower Basket Petit Pointe quilt, which was designated as one of the top 100 quilts of the 20th Century by Quilters Newsletter Magazine in 1999. Grace McCance…

Pioneer Girl

By Andrea Warren,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pioneer Girl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Pioneer Girl is the true story of Grace McCance Snyder. In 1885, when Grace was three, she and her family became homesteaders on the windswept prairie of central Nebraska. They settled into a small sod house and hauled their water in barrels. Together they endured violent storms, drought, blizzards, and prairie fires. Despite the hardships and dangers, Grace loved her life on the prairie. Weaving Grace's story into the history of America's heartland, award-winning author Andrea Warren writes not just of one spirited girl but of all the children who homesteaded with their families in the late 1800s, sharing the…

The Horse Whisperers from Anaconda

By Allen E. Rizzi,

Book cover of The Horse Whisperers from Anaconda

It has been interesting to read the reviews for this book. I ordered it when I learned it was about family history, but another wanted it because of horse whisperers in the title, yet another was drawn because of the artwork of one of the Allen brothers.

This is a corner of history that was new to me—a family moving from Missouri to the wilds of Montana to oversee a timber operation, but the sons learning training horses from Blackfoot Indians, which turned into jobs. They also trained horses for the army during WWI. They were hunters and mountainmen. Leather items they made still survive among descendants. Lee and Edd Allen's interests were so different.

Lee stayed with their parents when they moved to California, still cherishing the outdoors. Edd was an artist, illustrator, printmaker, and lived in Paris for a time. One etching is in the Smithsonian, and others…

The Horse Whisperers from Anaconda

By Allen E. Rizzi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Horse Whisperers from Anaconda as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


The Last Letter

By Kathleen Shoop,

Book cover of The Last Letter

Switching gears from the Domestic Suspense genre, I’d like to recommend a historical fiction gem. It’s been a while since I finished this first book in a series, but this story – and the mother of all mothers, Jeanie – has stuck with me. Her story is a constant reminder that womankind of the 1800s was made of steel and I’m not sure I would’ve survived back then. Jeanie’s life quickly turns from wealthy and having an esteemed reputation to losing it all. She’s then forced to follow her husband’s dreams of prairie life where Jeanie is forced to live off the land and faces the harshest of conditions, natural disasters, and the worst tragedy a mother can experience. (sidenote: follow this author on TikTok where she reads the real letters from Jeanie!)

The Last Letter

By Kathleen Shoop,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Last Letter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


The WPA Guide to 1930s Iowa

By Federal Writers Project,

Book cover of The WPA Guide to 1930s Iowa

The Federal Writers’ Project was one of many projects undertaken by the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression. The American Guide Series was a subset of works produced by the Federal Writers’ Project (FWP). The books, created through a cooperative effort of both Federal and State organizations, are part travel guide, part almanac. Each includes illustrations and photographs and offers a fascinating snapshot of the 48 United States in the Union, and Alaska, in the late 1930s and early 1940s. The project employed over 6,000 writers. Many of these books have been reprinted.

The WPA Guide to 1930s Iowa

By Federal Writers Project,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The WPA Guide to 1930s Iowa as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


A Song of Years

By Bess Streeter Aldrich, Anne Reeve Aldrich,

Book cover of A Song of Years

Song of Years captures all of the struggle and angst of carving out a home from pure, unspoiled Iowa prairie by those bold pioneers who risked everything to do so. While reading, I became the heroine, Abby Deal, as she sacrificed and struggled to wrest a life and create a home from the frontier that challenged her and her family at every turn. Realistic, even epic, this 1939 novel is on my keeper shelf. 

A Song of Years

By Bess Streeter Aldrich, Anne Reeve Aldrich,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Song of Years as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The state of Iowa was still young and wild when Wayne Lockwood came to it from New England in 1851. He claimed a quarter-section about a hundred miles west of Dubuque and quickly came to appreciate widely scattered neighbors like Jeremiah Martin, whose seven daughters would have chased the gloom from any bachelor's heart. Sabina, Emily, Celia, Melinda, Phoebe Lou, Jeanie, and Suzanne are timeless in their appeal-too spirited to be preoccupied with sermons, sickness, and sudden death. However, the feasts, weddings, and holiday celebrations in Song of Years are shadowed by all the rigors and perils of frontier living.…

Ten Beautiful Things

By Molly Griffin, Maribel Lechuga (illustrator),

Book cover of Ten Beautiful Things

Ten Beautiful Things is a gorgeous picture book with a gentle tone and much to say. It follows a little girl and her grandma as they go on a road trip together. The ride is long, and at first there seems to be little to admire about the trip. But then Grandma suggests they intentionally seek out ten beautiful things as they roll through sprawling landscapes. A terrific reminder for children and adults alike that so many of our experiences are a matter of perspective.

Ten Beautiful Things

By Molly Griffin, Maribel Lechuga (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ten Beautiful Things as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


The Vast Fields of Ordinary

By Nick Burd,

Book cover of The Vast Fields of Ordinary

One of my favourite YA novels ever! The narration in this book truly comes alive. Reading it, the narrator Dade just popped right out of the page and into my inner reading voice. He was so vibrant and full of personality, and while his misadventures were very unlike my own experiences, I still felt a connection to him. I was hooked from beginning to end! This book also inspired me to get back into writing my own novel, so it has a really special place in my heart.

The Vast Fields of Ordinary

By Nick Burd,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Vast Fields of Ordinary as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


The Emerald Horizon

By Cornelia F. Mutel,

Book cover of The Emerald Horizon: The History of Nature in Iowa

A more detailed and scholarly book than Crosby’s, this book is a description of the origin, character, and fate of the tallgrass prairie in Iowa. It is essential reading for those who wish to understand what the Iowa prairie (and by extension the prairie of neighboring states as well) was like before being settled by Euro-Americans and converted to agricultural use in the 19th century, what is left of that prairie today, and conservation and restoration efforts to replace some of what was lost.

The Emerald Horizon

By Cornelia F. Mutel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Emerald Horizon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In ""The Emerald Horizon"", Cornelia Mutel combines lyrical writing with meticulous scientific research to portray the environmental past, present, and future of Iowa. In doing so, she ties all of Iowa's natural features into one comprehensive whole.Since so much of the tallgrass state has been transformed into an agricultural landscape, Mutel focuses on understanding today's natural environment by understanding yesterday's changes. After summarizing the geological, archaeological, and ecological features that shaped Iowa's modern landscape, she recreates the once-wild native communities that existed prior to Euroamerican settlement. Next she examines the dramatic changes that overtook native plant and animal communities as…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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