Hannah Fowler

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University Press of Kentucky, Aug 1, 1992 - Fiction - 219 pages
2 Reviews

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.  

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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 . 

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Section 12
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Section 14
Section 15
Section 16
Section 17
Section 18

Section 9
Section 10

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About the author (1992)

Author Janice Holt Giles was born in Altus, Arkansas on March 28, 1905. She attended Little Rock Junior College and then the University of Arkansas. She married Otto Moore in 1923; they had one daughter together and divorced in 1939. She worked as a secretary for church congregations and in the field of religious education. She met Henry Giles on a bus in 1943 and they began a two-year courtship, mostly by correspondence because he was serving in World War II. They were married in 1945 and moved to Kentucky in 1949. This is where she started her writing career. Between 1950 and 1975, she wrote twenty-four books of fiction, non-fiction, and short stories mostly concerning Appalachian life and culture. While many authors wrote of desperate mountain communities saved by outsiders, she wrote of desperate outsiders who moved into mountain communities to help others, but found that the people there helped them instead. She also co-wrote some novels with her husband such as Harbin's Ridge. Most of her books were bestsellers, reviewed in the New York Times, and were selected for inclusion in book clubs. She died of heart failure on June 1, 1979.

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