10 books like Pioneer Girl

By Andrea Warren,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Pioneer Girl. 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.


An Old Settler's Story

By Larry Dean Reese,

Book cover of An Old Settler's Story: Pioneer Life in Iowa: The Story of John Blake Jolliffe and his Wife Jane Etta Metcalf Jolliffe

For their Golden Wedding Anniversary in 1917, a couple gathered their family for a celebration. During the day, they share their Iowa pioneering stories. What wonderful details about living arrangements, hardships in travel, hard-to-believe hordes of grasshoppers, blizzards, even a probable encounter with Jesse James. Written as a novel but based on historical events, his dear slim book also includes several photographs.

An Old Settler's Story

By Larry Dean Reese,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked An Old Settler's Story as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


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.


Mollie

By Mollie Dorsey Sanford,

Book cover of Mollie: The Journal of Mollie Dorsey Sanford in Nebraska and Colorado Territories, 1857-1866

We have seen so many movies about the American West we sometimes forget it happened to ordinary people exactly like ourselves. Church-going pioneers on the great wagon trail west would wake up to find Native Americans in camp, singing a morning prayer to their god. As a young bride, Mollie Sanford experiences the rattlesnakes, chaos, and lawlessness of wild west gold camps, with nothing to protect her but her hymn-singing upbringing in the Mid-West. Her character and beliefs are tested to the limit.

Mollie

By Mollie Dorsey Sanford,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Mollie is a vivid, high-spirited, and intensely feminine account of city people homesteading in the raw, new land west of the Missouri. More particularly, it is the story of Mollie herself - just turned eighteen when the Dorseys left Indianapolis for Nebraska Territory - of her reaction to the transplantation and to her new life which included rattlesnakes, blizzards, Indians, and the hardships of pioneer life. Mollie describes her nearly three-year engagement to Byron Sanford, during which time she worked as a seamstress, teacher, and cook. Following her wedding Mollie's life took a new turn. Catching "Pike's Peak Fever," the…

O Pioneers!

By Willa Sibert Cather,

Book cover of O Pioneers!

How can you resist a title with an exclamation mark! This feminist eco-classic has Alexandra Bergson as its central character – a frontier farmer who wears a man’s long coat and carries it off “like a young soldier” – and who seems to have a more intense relationship with the land than with other human beings. She is not the flashiest of heroines but she burrowed her way into my imagination: tireless, patient, persevering, and mysterious.

O Pioneers!

By Willa Sibert Cather,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked O Pioneers! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At the turn of the twentieth century. When their father dies young, exhausted by the failure of his attempts at agriculture, it is left to the visionary Alexandra to guide the family to prosperity and safeguard the fortune of her brothers. Strong-willed and fiercely independent, she succeeds against all odds, but only at the cost of her own fulfilment as a woman. Central to the novel's action is the Nebraskan landscape it describes, by turns unyielding and fruitful, bitter and ecstatic.O Pioneers! joins Cather's My Antonia in Everyman's Library.

Never Caught Twice

By Matthew S. Luckett,

Book cover of Never Caught Twice: Horse Stealing in Western Nebraska, 1850-1890

Horse stealing was more than theft of valuable and essential property. Matthew Luckett explains that on the Great Plains horse stealing “destabilized communities, institutions, nations, diplomatic relations, and cross-cultural exchange.” Luckett challenges many popular notions about horse thieves (for starters, they were not hung).  There were different kinds of horse theft and horse thieves. Don’t be misled by “Nebraska” in the title—this book shows that horse stealing had regional and national repercussions.   Luckett is an engaging writer, and this book is extremely readable and filled with compelling stories. I particularly recommend the chapter “The Horse Wars” about the role of horses in the war the U.S. Army waged against the Indians. 

Never Caught Twice

By Matthew S. Luckett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Never Caught Twice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

2021 Nebraska Book Award

Never Caught Twice presents the untold history of horse raiding and stealing on the Great Plains of western Nebraska. By investigating horse stealing by and from four plains groups-American Indians, the U.S. Army, ranchers and cowboys, and farmers-Matthew S. Luckett clarifies a widely misunderstood crime in Western mythology and shows that horse stealing transformed plains culture and settlement in fundamental and surprising ways.

From Lakota and Cheyenne horse raids to rustling gangs in the Sandhills, horse theft was widespread and devastating across the region. The horse's critical importance in both Native and white societies meant that…

Nebraska

By Ron Hansen,

Book cover of Nebraska: Stories

This is a portrait of Nebraska (and Nebraskans) where most of my own book takes place. It’s also the state where I went to high school. I like Hansen’s spare and precise writing style because it perfectly fits the time and place, as well as the characters themselves who are presented stripped of the conceits and pretensions. For me, it’s a style, though different from McCarthy’s, that creates the illusion of actual direct experience as opposed to something I happen to be reading about. His story “Wickedness” creates a powerful image of winter on the Great Plains and its effect on people.

Nebraska

By Ron Hansen,

Why should I read it?

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


All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook

By Leslie Connor,

Book cover of All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook

I’ve read – and loved – many of Connor’s others books, but I hadn’t read this one until last year, when, after sharing the plot of Born Behind Bars with a librarian, she mentioned that it sounded a little like All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook. At once, I looked it up – and when I read the synopsis, I was shocked. It seemed to begin almost exactly the way that my own novel began – with a boy whose mother is incarcerated, and who is suddenly told he’s too old to continue living with her. I wrote a frantic email to my agent, who was reassuringly calm. When I finally read the book, I felt enormous relief. While Connor’s book and mine share this single plot point, and they are both, ultimately, about the triumph of love and family and friendship, the plots diverge tremendously, the…

All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook

By Leslie Connor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Junior Library Guild Selection * Kids' Indie Next List Pick From Leslie Connor, award-winning author of Waiting for Normal and Crunch, comes a soaring and heartfelt story about love, forgiveness, and how innocence makes us all rise up. All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook is a powerful story, perfect for fans of Wonder and When You Reach Me. Eleven-year-old Perry was born and raised by his mom at the Blue River Co-ed Correctional Facility in tiny Surprise, Nebraska. His mom is a resident on Cell Block C, and so far Warden Daugherty has made it possible for them…

Worth Dying for

By Lee Child,

Book cover of Worth Dying for

Of all twenty-some books (and counting) in Child’s Jack Reacher series, this one stands out. In an interview, Lee once said, "I just wrote this one by the numbers." To me his final solo effort feels like he finally figured out how to say what he always wanted. It’s personal, yet geopolitical. Empathetic, yet very tough. In this tale of two half-cities run by rival gangs, the Armenians and the Ukrainians, he does so simply and brilliantly.

The story’s government is corrupt, as so many are, full of bribe-taking politicians who are unable to protect the citizenry from organized crime. To fill that void, in steps Jack Reacher with some intuitive detecting, a little romance, and a lot of bad-guy killing.

Worth Dying for

By Lee Child,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Worth Dying for as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

There's trouble in the deadly wilds of Nebraska . . . and Reacher walks right into it. He falls foul of the Duncans, a local clan that has terrified an entire country into submission.

But it's the unsolved case of a missing eight-year-old girl that Reacher can't let go.

Reacher - bruised and battered - should have just kept going. But for Reacher, that was impossible.

What, in this fearful county, would be worth dying for?

_________

Although the Jack Reacher novels can be read in any order, Worth Dying For follows on directly from the end of 61 Hours.…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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