Title: The Trouble With Nancy
Author: Chautona Havig
Series: Gold Diggers Collection One Book 2
Major Themes: Pony Express, American West, Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Romance, US History 1783-1860, Books for Women
Synopsis: When her family was in trouble, Nancy impetuously did the only thing she could think of to make the money they needed to survive—disguised herself as a boy and joined the Pony Express!
There is only one author that I love the writing of so well that I make sure I read everything she writes. That is Chautona Havig. She has a way of taking a common theme and putting a very different twist on it, or of taking an unusual theme, and either way she makes a very believable story with characters you feel like you really know. In The Trouble With Nancy, she has a girl disguise herself as a boy to ride the Pony Express. A girl pretending to be a man isn’t that unusual—but quite often, in a case like that, the girl saves the day by being smarter than the men around her, or something along that line. Not so in this case!
Nancy’s mother had a problem. She had just been informed that there was a tax owing on the home her husband left her when he died, and if the tax wasn’t paid, she would lose her home. Not to worry, said her brother-in-law; he had a plan. Sell the house to him, and move into his house. That was not her plan—but what could she do? Her son Lewis decided to become a Pony Express rider to earn the money to pay the tax—but then he was attacked and injured. What would become of the family now?
Nancy had always been rather a prissy, self-centered girl. She couldn’t ride, she hated dirt and heat. All she wanted was to get married—but she looked like her brother except for her beautiful hair. Suddenly, she knew what she had to do to save the family: Take Lewis’s place as a Pony Express rider! However, she found herself in deep water when things were different from what she expected—and she had to put up with smelly, awful horses that she could hardly stay on top of. Would she survive her trip across the country and back?
The Trouble With Nancy is a beautiful account of a girl learning to put others first. I also love the way she learns about God and relying on Him. The spiritual lessons are woven in so gently that I almost didn’t pick up on them, but a few passages were real gems. After she reached home again, she was telling a friend how she learned to rely on knowing God was with her, but now that she was home, she felt distanced from Him. Her friend’s counsel to her was invaluable
I wouldn’t say this is one of my favorite of Chautona’s books, but it is a good one. It’s clean, light reading, and a fun adventure/mystery story. I read it when I wasn’t feeling good and needed to lay down, and just wanted something easy to read. If you like historical fiction set in the West, you’ll enjoy it.
I received a free copy of this book from the author, and these are my honest thoughts about it.
WARNING: A boy is beaten up in ch. 2, and tries to fight back. A girl is hurt in ch. 5. People are threatened with being shot in ch. 8, 24, and 25, and someone is shot in ch. 25. A girl almost succeeds in killing herself in ch. 25. A boy’s life is threatened in ch. 21 and 26. A girl thinks about ways she could be killed in ch. 10, and a boy in ch. 24. A man is hit hard enough to faint in ch. 10. A boy hurts someone in ch. 17. A man dies in ch. 29.
A girl hears unsavory stories in ch. 3. Cursing or swearing is overheard in ch. 3, 5, 12, 15, 16, 17, 21, 22, 24, and 28. The word “blamed” is used in ch. 12 and 21. The word “blessed” is used in a way I don’t appreciate in ch. 15. The phrase “like the dickens” is used in ch. 17. The phrase “land sakes” is used in ch. 25 and 26. There is lying in ch. 4, 12, and 22.
Brothels are mentioned in ch. 3 and 14. Drinking is mentioned in ch. 21. A horse is killed in ch. 12. A girl finds a burned-out outpost in ch. 15. A man advocates killing Indians in ch. 15. Touching between unmarried people is mentioned in ch. 11 and 22. Someone asks if someone was molested in ch. 11. “Women’s things” are mentioned in ch. 23. There is a kiss in ch. 28.
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults