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31 December 2005

Book Review: Letters From Yellowstone

I admit it--I am a Yellowstone freak--an afficionado. It is one of my favorite places in this world and I cannot get enough of it. A few weeks ago, the thought hit me--I have never read a peice of fiction frame on the area. Thus began the search.

It was a little difficult. I am not into cowboys, so three quarters of the genre was kicked out on that basis. Murder mysteries... nope. When it boiled down there were about five books to choose from. I chose Letters From Yellowstone by Diane Smith. (I must confess--I am a very bad book critic. A book would have to be truly awful for me to not like it. I have encountered very few books I would classify as "do not pick this one up.") I like her book, mostly.

The story takes place at the near the turn of the century (late 1800s) and is written in the form of correspondence to various people. The main character is Alexandria Bartam, who is chosen as a member of a botanical expedition to Yellowstone by Professor Merriam, who had assumed she was a man.

This book wanted to become a love story, but that would have probably made the ending worse than it already was. The characters, though, were all interesting and had much to say. The text moved quickly, which is to say I was eager to know what happened next.

But the ending... It absolutely stank. I'm not going to ruin it for anybody, but it was kind of abrupt and ended up way too happy--almost like a fairy tail.

Still, I would recommend this book to anybody eager to hear about the Yellowstone country.