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Betty Zane (1903)

by Zane Grey

Series: Frontier Trilogy (1)

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412961,534 (3.74)30
Classic Literature. Fiction. Literature. Western. Betty Zane is the story of the first settlers in the Ohio Valley and their fight for survival during the Revolutionary War. The British have organized and incited the various eastern tribes to attack American "Rebels" in this lesser-known theater of the war. Betty is a fiery beauty whose quest for romance with Alfred Clarke is interrupted time and again by Indian raids and battles. In an unexpected twist, it is Betty who turns the tide at the final battle of Fort Henry. Inspired by the life and adventures of his own great-great-grandmother, Betty Zane is Zane Grey's first novel. This and the other two books in the Ohio River series are considered some of Grey's best work.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
The first novel of the prolific writer of (mostly) Westerns is not a Western, per se, but a frontier novel set in the Virginia-Ohio area, a novel based on historical references and family traditions from Grey's own family. It concerns the titular Betty Zane, a real-life antecedent of Grey's, who with her family fought the Indian and British forces trying to wipe out the revolutionary colonists on the then-western edge of American "civilization." The story takes place largely in 1782 and tells relatively true accounts of the young woman Betty Zane and her heroic effort to save her family from a massive attack. Published in 1903, the book is relatively well-written, with a fairly compelling narrative, but it is also a piece of its time, replete with condescension toward the female characters, dehumanizing terms for the Indian characters, and occasional bouts of flowery romantic language, particularly in the scenes between Betty and the two men who love her. But Grey, even in his first novel, manages to convey some of the grittiness of the frontier, and he brings his great-grand-aunt to comparatively vivid life. Grey wrote over 100 novels, some of them quite a bit more famous than this, his first, and he is renowned as a remarkable story-teller. This isn't a bad start, for him, or for anyone who wants to tackle his massive output. ( )
  jumblejim | Aug 26, 2023 |
Pretty good story of the settling of the western frontier during the time of the American Revolution. Zane Grey loosely based the story on the diaries of his great-great aunt Betty Zane and was definitely romanticized. I didn't expect the fair-handed treatment of Native Americans as much of the literature of the time simply called them savages and moved on. Grey actually dwelt on the unfair treatment of the native people as they were forced off their lands and characterized them with depth and nuance. It was an interesting and unexpected take. Betty, on the other hand, I just wanted to slap at times and tell her to grow up and quit taking herself so damn seriously. She was a bit of a nincompoop when it came to judging character. Overally, very good read though with a lot of action and romance. ( )
  AliceAnna | Sep 10, 2020 |
Grey's first book. Indian wars on the Ohio River. ( )
  LindaLeeJacobs | Feb 15, 2020 |
This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Betty Zane
Series: Ohio River #1
Author: Zane Grey
Rating: 1.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Western?
Pages: 263
Format: Digital Edition

Synopsis:


Betty Zane has come to the frontier to live with her brother and his family. Pretty, head strong and used to getting her way, Betty lives life her way.

A young man comes to the settlement and because he doesn't immediately bow to Betty's beauty she “hates” him. Of course, they fall in love with each other but between both of them being young, full of pride and just generally stupid, things don't go easy.

Then Indians and some damn British Red Coats attack the fort. The brave men and women and children hold them off and win a great victory.

Betty Zane and her fella done get hitched and produce a heap 'o chillens.

My Thoughts:

Well, after I was done with the Sacketts, I figured Zane Grey was next. This is NOT an auspicious start, that is for sure.

This isn't what I'd think of as a Western, but more of Frontier Fiction. There are no cowboys, no West, it's all East of the Mississippi river and it is sappy as a Janette Oke book. I was NOT expecting that.

I also wasn't expecting deeply insightful characters either but almost everyone portrayed came across as a cardboard cutout slapped with a coat of brightly colored paint. I felt like I was watching clowns at a circus.

The story telling itself was tedious. First Zane would do a chapter of “history” where he just spells everything out. Then we'd jump into the story where he would then tell that exact same history but using the characters and making a story of it. He bleeding spoils his own thing and pretty much just puffs up his word count. Needless to say, I was not impressed.

I have an omnibus edition of Grey's works and I'll be skipping the next Ohio River book. Of course, without an actual index I'll have to flip through 200'ish pages to do that. This is why you shouldn't buy $2 omnibus books on Amazon.

★☆☆☆½ ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Aug 21, 2019 |
This book was totally different to what I normally read, but despite its slightly different style (the first book by this author and written in 1903) it definitely worked for me and really enjoyed it. It is even more interesting as in this book Betty Zane was one of his antecedents. There are two other books in the Frontier trilogy and have downloaded them from Amazon. All 3 books are free as copyright has expired. If you want something different with a great female lead who was ahead of her time, read this one! 4.5 Stars ( )
  Andrew-theQM | Dec 18, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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The Zane family was a remarkable one in early days, and most of its members are historical characters.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Classic Literature. Fiction. Literature. Western. Betty Zane is the story of the first settlers in the Ohio Valley and their fight for survival during the Revolutionary War. The British have organized and incited the various eastern tribes to attack American "Rebels" in this lesser-known theater of the war. Betty is a fiery beauty whose quest for romance with Alfred Clarke is interrupted time and again by Indian raids and battles. In an unexpected twist, it is Betty who turns the tide at the final battle of Fort Henry. Inspired by the life and adventures of his own great-great-grandmother, Betty Zane is Zane Grey's first novel. This and the other two books in the Ohio River series are considered some of Grey's best work.

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Betty Zane was a strong, young frontier woman living in a man's world. In this, Zane Grey's first novel, Betty and her brothers live in Fort Henry, West Virginia and are key figures in one of the last battles of the Revolutionary War.
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