In the novel Hannah Fowler, Janice Holt Giles created a pioneer woman who would, In Giles's words, "endow her own physical seed with her strength and courage, and her own tenderness and love." First published in 1956, this work is the second in Giles's series of historical novels on Kentucky, which includes The Kentuckians and The Believers.
Samuel Moore and his daughter Hannah set out for the border country with a party led by George Rogers Clark but left to follow the Kentucky River to Boones' Fort. As the story opens, Hannah is nursing her father, injured when an axe slips and cuts his leg. By the time Tice Fowler, on his way to Logan's Fort, stumbles upon them alone in the wilderness, Samuel is dying from blood poisoning.
When Samuel dies, Tice takes Hannah to the fort, where women are scarce, and Hannah finds herself besieged by suitors. Only with Tice, as silent and downright as herself, does Hannah feel at ease. Finally, she turns to the bashful Tice and asks him to marry her and take her away from the crowded fort. Together, they take their claim to land, build a cabin, and start a family. They endure the harsh frontier life, the threat of hungry wolves, a killing blizzard, and Indian raids.
Hannah is an unforgettable character -- tall, physically and psychologically strong, the epitome of frontier womanhood -- brought to life by a woman who knew and loved the Kentucky people and setting about which she wrote.
Janice Holt Giles (1905-1979), author of nineteen books, lived and wrote near Knifley, Kentucky, for thirty-four years. Her biography is told in Janice Holt Giles: A Writer's Life.
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The gritty story of a pioneer woman who loses her father at the beginning of the story, chooses a good man to marry, and works alongside him to develop their land under primitive conditions and constant danger from hostile Indians. Hannah is not a fragile flower; she overcomes the harsh realities of pioneer life with dogged determination and a total lack of self pity. This is not a sophisticated story (it's written for young people), but it is a memorable story. It was one of my mother's favorites and has become one of mine, as well.
This is one of my all time favorite books! I found it in the local library in the mid seventies. I checked it out over a dozen times that year and began a search for my own copy. I still read this book at least once a year, usually during a snowstorm with the fireplace blazing and of course, a pot of stew on the stove! There are NO sex scenes in this book. But you can "feel" the love between Tice and Hannah as they struggle to build their home in Kentucky .