. . . a look at the life of America’s pioneer hero, Daniel Boone,
as shared by his wife, Rebecca Bryan Boone. Except that
“My Blessed, Wretched Life” is even better.
Rebecca’s own story, as imagined creatively by Sue Kelly Ballard, is so captivating, so gut-wrenchingly realistic, so obviously genuine, we begin to acknowledge who really moved America westward: our pioneer mother ancestors. Ballard captures every mood and moment of Rebecca’s life in the backwoods and on the frontier with accuracy and passion, with authenticity and beauty, and at a pace that keeps the reader diving headlong into each new page eager to swallow up what happens next. Ballard’s descriptions of the sights and sounds of the sylvan wilderness, of life’s daily routine around a cabin set in a clearing made in the woods, and of the people and animals, both welcomed and unwelcomed, who come there are not segregated into long passages, but are tossed in generously as short snippets on top of the action, keeping the reader easily imagining the setting and circumstances as the story roars ahead. When a dozen things are happening at once, it takes a skilled frontier woman and a talented writer to keep everyone and everything moving along together.
Readers will recognize the plight of a woman with more to do than she can say grace over and half the resources to get any of it done before the next crisis springs upon her. Ballard’s writing is a paean to the courage, perseverance, inventiveness, and tenderness of women from every era who have struggled tenaciously and survived by their own wit and gumption against unimagined challenges and tragic calamity. Rebecca Boone’s story resonates with all generations. When you read the first page, the first paragraph, or even just the first sentence, you will know that you are in the circle with a marvelous storyteller who will tend to you as a reader just as Rebecca Boone tends to the needs of her children and to her own, as well, as a mother, a wife, and a woman.
Three huzzas for Rebecca Boone, and for Sue Kelly Ballard’s “My Blessed, Wretched Life.”
-Randell Jones, author of “In the Footsteps of Daniel Boone” and
“Trailing Daniel Boone.”