It turns out that I excitedly picked this book up by mistake (but a happy mistake.) Standing on line at the library I saw it on the new YA book display and was delighted to see this sequel and snatched it up. Hattie had been on my mind because of a recent post I’d done for The Hub, in which I’d recommended Finding Hattie. It didn’t take more than a couple pages for me to realize this was not a sequel to that, but rather a sequel to Hattie Big Sky. (and a not even astute reader would have realized far sooner than me because it says it on the cover.) Anyway, I remembered that I’d liked Hattie Big Sky and was actually hooked by this right from the start so I kept on.
This was delightful historical fiction. In the first book Hattie, an orphan, is trying to prove up a homestead. I didn’t really remember the other characters whom she now writes letters to, but it didn’t impact the story. In this sequel Hattie grabs an opportunity to travel to San Francisco. The year is 1919 and it makes a wonderful rich historical setting. There are plenty of details about what Hattie wears, what San Francisco is like, how they get around, and what life is like for women post-World War I. What Hattie most wants is to be a reporter and through some good luck she gets a night shift job as a cleaner at a newspaper building. It’s there that she learns how to research in the paper’s morgue, for in addition to trying to make her own way she is also trying to solve a mystery involving her late Uncle Chester.
I really enjoyed reading about Hattie’s determination-it seems equal parts good luck and hard work help her succeed-and the newspaper industry in 1919. I also liked the romantic conflicts Hattie has. This is a great piece of historical fiction, and also just a really satisfying story about an independent young woman.