Book Review: Nothing Daunted, The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West by Dorothy Wickenden

I love biographies of people who were gutsy, brave, daring, independent, and fiercely determined against the odds. This book more than met my satisfaction!
The author has written the tale of her grandmother Dorothy Woodruff. In 1916 she along with her dear friend Rosamond "Ros" Underwood, traveled by train and then pack horse to the sparsely populated settlement of Elkhead, Colorado. They have committed to teach in the Elkhead school for 9 months. Elkhead is near Hayden, which is in Routt County, Colorado. These hardy pioneer folk are in desperate need of teachers. This is also a community where several bachelor men are in need of wives. Western Colorado was at this time period still considered rustic and uninhabitable for women such as Dorothy and Ros. These women were from Aurora, New York. They'd grown up in luxury and wealth. Neither could cook, nor do any other domestic work. They were well-educated and had traveled to Europe for an extended stay. Their life in Aurora was bland to them, the eligible men that their parents would have liked for them to marry were, "just not up to their standards." Dorothy and Ros with foresight and determination and a large amount of gumption, traveled to western Colorado for the 9 month teaching commitment. They shared a room with a homesteading family. Ros would be in charge of the older children, Dorothy would teach the younger. No matter the weather inclement they traveled by horse to the 30 x 50 school house. Their weekends were for preparing teaching lessons, and Sunday morning Sunday school. During the course of their "big adventure" they became friends with the local people. Parties, dances, church events kept them busy on the weekends. Dorothy and Ros grew to love the beauty of Colorado, as well as the lifetime friends they met.
Medicine Bow National Forest Colorado
Through Dorothy and Ros' eyes we see the standards of train travel, hotel accommodations, terrain of Colorado, real Cowboy's, snowstorms, children who are eager to go to school, and hardy pioneer men and women who persevered. For me this was wonderful history!
The focus is on the period they were in Colorado teaching. Also written about is their early years in Aurora, and the year they spent in Europe.
I was and am still fascinated by these women who went against society standards and bravely set their face like flint to the west!

Published by Scribner, Simon and Schuster new in paperback April 2012
http://books.simonandschuster.biz/Nothing-Daunted/Dorothy-Wickenden/9781439176597
320 pages
Early 20th Century/The Old West/Pioneer Women/Biography
Link for video of book:
http://www.simonandschuster.biz/multimedia?video=1602188507001

Link @ Barnes and Nobles:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/nothing-daunted-dorothy-wickenden/1100213857
Paperback $13.99
Nook $9.99

Comments