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Jenny of the Tetons by Kristiana Gregory

Jenny of the Tetons (1989)

by Kristiana Gregory

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Kristiana Gregory's fictional account of Carrie Hill, a teenage girl orphaned by an Indian attack on her wagon train heading for Oregon was a surprisingly good read. The book may be aimed at YA readers, but nevertheless I certainly enjoyed it. The title character of JENNY OF THE TETONS is an Indian (Native American) woman married to an 'Englishman,' Richard "Beaver Dick" Leigh, who is a most resourceful hunter and trapper (as well as a loving husband and father). Dick and Jenny have five children and take on the teenage narrator, as a foster child/mother's helper. The book, presented in the form of a journal Carrie keeps, documents the seasonal moves and very gritty life of living in the wild mountains of Montana/Idaho/Wyoming in the 1870s. I was reminded a bit of the Little House stories, except Carrie's story is much more graphic, and the frontier life depicted is much harder than that of the Ingalls family. Daily life is plagued by the constant presence of mosquitoes, flies and yellow jackets, relieved only by campfire smoke. Deeply frigid winters and torridly hot bug-infested summers were part of everyday life, with other dangers as well, including marauding grizzly bears, brush fires and unfriendly Indian tribes. It's also a coming-of-age story as Carrie develops feelings for a handsome young carpenter who visits Dick's camp often from Fort Hall. JENNY OF THE TETONS is a little book. I found it at a local thrift store and read it in one afternoon. A rewarding read, thoroughly researched (based in part on the actual journals of Richard Leigh) and well-written. A window into every-day life of the American West in the time of the Little Big Horn. The 'blended' family aspect of a white-Indian mixed marriage makes the story even more interesting. I'll pass this along to some younger readers I know. Highly recommended. ( )
  TimBazzett | Nov 29, 2014 |
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The Indian women are remarkable for their affection and fidelity to their husbands.
--George Frederick Ruxton,
Life in the Far West, 1849
The ravages of the Small Pox (which Swept off 400 men & Womin [sic] & children in perpopotion[sic]) has reduced this nation...The cause or way those people took the Small Pox uncertain, the most Probable, from Some other nation by means of a warparty.
--William Clark, 14 August 1804
The Journals of Lewis and Clark
For my parents,
honeymoon campers on Jenny Lake
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Our wagon train, what was left of it, pulled into Fort Hall just after sundown.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0152167706, Paperback)

Carrie Hill hates Indians. Indians killed her parents and ruined her life.
With nowhere else to go, fifteen-year-old Carrie signs on to help care for the family of Beaver Dick Leigh, an English trapper. To her dismay, Carrie discovers that Beaver Dick's wife, Jenny, is a Shoshoni Indian! But as Carrie's wounds heal under Jenny's gentle care, she begins to respect and love this kind woman.
Beginning each chapter with an excerpt from Beaver Dick Leigh's actual journals, Kristiana Gregory brings alive the people and the dramatic setting of a bygone era.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:16 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Orphaned by an Indian raid while traveling West with a wagon train, fifteen-year-old Carrie Hill is befriended by the English trapper Beaver Dick and taken to live with his Indian wife Jenny and their six children.

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