by Charles Cranston Jett
Bess Parker is only 21 years old when she sets out by herself in 1908, leaving the safety of her childhood home for southwestern North Dakota to establish a homestead. And it takes all the strength she can muster to succeed—facing the perils of the vast prairie, making her homestead productive, conquering the dangers of the frontier, flirting with romance, struggling with the emotional needs of her heart and body, and meeting the challenges of life on the prairie. But this unique young woman has a steely determination, and her story is the epitome of courage and grit in a difficult and sometimes cruel time in the history of the west.
Bess is the story of a young twenty-one year old woman's journey of courage, grit and love.
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Rochelle Weber, Roses & Thorns Reviews, Dec 8, 2016
Growing up on a farm in Cando, North Dakota, “Bess” Parker is a tomboy. She’d rather be outside helping her dad with farm chores than inside learning to cook or sew with her mother. Obedient child that she is, Bess manages to do both—get up early enough to feed the chickens, gather the eggs, help Mama with breakfast, and then go outside to help saddle up her horse and help her dad tend the sheep. In the spring she even helps with lambing and shearing, while getting good grades in school and mastering the piano, eventually being able to play complex pieces such as Chaupin’s etudes. The only thing is, when a local boy expresses an interest in courting her, Bess just isn’t interested. She wants to move farther west and homestead—on her own. Much to her mother’s dismay, Bess never seems to show any interest in romance at all.
She’s very good at hiding the feelings she has for her best friend. Nor does she tell her parents about Linda, the girl she meets on the train enroute to Haley, North Dakota, the town where she plans to homestead, or the three wonderful days they spend together before Linda leaves for Montana to visit her aunt and uncle.
“Bess” grabbed me at the beginning and held my attention straight through. I had difficulty putting it down. Mr. Jett did a pretty good job of staying in the period with only one anomaly that I found, which wasn’t bad for a first-time historical novel. Mr. Jett’s dialog could also be a bit less stilted, but making the transition from non-fiction business writing to fiction is not easy, and since Mr. Jett had the same publisher, I suspect he had the same editor who may not know as much about working with fiction. Bess is a plucky character—a strong woman who makes her own way in a man’s world. A true pioneer in more than one sense of the word. I highly recommend “Bess.”
ABOUT Charles Cranston Jett
Charles Cranston Jett is a graduate of the US Naval Academy and the Harvard Graduate School of Business. He served in the US Naval Nuclear Submarine Force and has thirty years’ experience in the management consulting and executive recruiting world. A native of the Western Dakotas, Mr. Jett is also the author of WANTED: Eight Critical Skills You Need To Succeed; The Doom Loop; Field Studies; and Super Nuke! A Memoir About Life as a Nuclear Submariner and the Contributions of a “Super Nuke” the USS RAY (SSN653) Toward Winning the Cold War.
Connect with Charles on his blog or on goodreads.
Email Charles for a review copy. Will provide e-book.