Thursday, January 23, 2020

Light Changes Everything by Nancy E. Turner

To say I was a little excited to read this book would be an understatement. I read Nancy Turner's first novel, These is My Words, waaaay back in the late 1990's, and absolutely fell in love with it. To this day, it remains one of my favorite novels. 

Most people re-read favorite novels over and over, but I don't. I like to preserve that experience of discovering a story that sticks with me the first time I read it, and I think that if I read it again, it will somehow change for me, and I don't want that. So I will continue to tell people about These is My Words, all based on my first and only read. 

However, Nancy Turner kept writing, and wrote Sarah's Quilt and The Star Garden, and My Name is Resolute, which continue the story of Sarah Prine, and then jump back to Sarah's ancestor, Resolute. Light Changes Everything tells the story of Mary Pearl Prine, Sarah's niece.  It's 1907, and Arizona is still a territory of the United States, and still a dangerous place to live. Mary Pearl is seventeen and wants to go to college. She's been accepted into Wheaton College in Illinois to study art and is excited to go. However, just as she's making preparations, in walks Aubrey Hanna, a rising lawyer who sees Mary Pearl and decides he must marry her. 

Mary Pearl is torn between marriage to an up and coming young man, and following her dream to attend college. She decides to leave for college quickly, sending Aubrey a letter stating that she does want to marry him, just not quite yet. 

Mary Pearl's life changes at Wheaton College. She's the young lady from the Wild West, and is at odds with the sophisticated students who attend her school. But, she finds the one thing that will change her life: photography. Slowly making friends and finding her way through school, she begins to settle into life away from Arizona and her parent's ranch. 

Alright. I'm not going to tell you any more. I'll give too much away. 

I zipped through this novel faster than I expected to; the story of Mary Pearl and her family is so skillfully written that I gulped it all down like a good cup of coffee. Sarah, one of my top female characters EVER, is featured here as wise counsel to her niece, still tough as nails and running her own ranch. The Prine family come to life, and through all their trials and troubles, you keep rooting for them. Life is still harsh and unforgiving in Arizona Territory. The matter of fact attitude of early settlers may seem cold sometimes, but only the tough survive and thrive. 

You don't have to read the previous novels by Nancy Turner to enjoy this one, however, if you haven't read These is My Words, I would suggest you do so because it is such a wonderful story. I did read Sarah's Quilt and The Star Garden, and while I did want to know more of Sarah's journey, I would have been happy to just stick with These is My Words. You decide. They are all wonderful books about a strong family, and the incredibly tough women who kept it all together and persevered no matter what. 

Rating: 5/6 for a much anticipated return to the Prine family. Mary Pearl follows in the footsteps of her courageous aunt Sarah as she navigates college, family expectations, and her own heart. 

Available in hardcover ebook, and audio. 


  1. They sound great, thanks for sharing your thoughts

    1. Sarah Prine is one of my favorite characters EVER!