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Frontier Grit: The Unlikely True Stories of Daring Pioneer Women

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  1,596 ratings  ·  449 reviews
These are the stories of twelve women who "heard the call" to settle the west and who came from all points of the globe to begin their journey: the East Coast, Europe, and as far away as New Zealand. They endured unimaginable hardships just to get to their destination and then the next phase of the story begins. These are gripping miniature dramas of good-hearted women, se ...more
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published September 6th 2016 by Shadow Mountain
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Average rating 3.74  · 
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 ·  1,596 ratings  ·  449 reviews

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Miranda Reads
Fragments of their stained, complicated, gloriously real lives have been passed onto us...
Marianne Monson assembled short biographies of twelve incredible pioneer women. Each chapter starts with a picture and a quote. It was truly a joy to read about them.

Nellie Chasman: Gold Rush "Boomer" - She made a home in the wildest of company - braving the wilderness, greedy miners and numerous soul-crushing setbacks. She took advantage of all the cooking-shy men and opened restaurants wherever she went. In he/>Nellie
Diane S ☔
Jan 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 5000-2019, lor-2019
3.5 Twelve women, women who fought for social justice and equality during a time when it was considered that their place was in the home. Nellie Cashman, first woman gold prospector in Alaska, Clara Brown born a slave, sold separately from her husband and child, would buy her freedom and search for her child. My favorite though I respect all these gutsy women who didn't let their sex define them, was Charlotte, aka Charlie. To escape a lifetime of poverty she didguised herself as a man and becam ...more
Aug 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Munson does a short chapter that covers the entire life of a woman worthy of recognition. Obviously, that's pretty much just a sketch, but she did a great job.

As pointed out here:
Some lives are already well-documented, while others deserve wider recognition and novelists are sure to find inspiration in each story, such as that of Clara Brown, the former Virginian slave, or Zitkala-Sa, Sioux musician and activist, or Donaldina Cameron from New Zealand, who rescued Chinese girls from forced la/>Some
Sep 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of strong women making history
Frontier Grit by Marianne Monson brings the adventure, ingenuity and extraordinary fearlessness of American pioneer women to life. As a huge fan of the pioneer spirit, I enjoyed learning about the women who shaped our country from this book.

I’m normally a fiction reader, but the lack of enough authentic frontier fiction to keep me entertained led me to this book. The cover caught my eye right away. I couldn’t wait to find out who these women were and how they overcame obstacles. Fron
Please Pass the Books
As I happen to be in the midst of a frontier book and movie binge-marathon, I wanted so badly to love this book…and I really tried to. I learned a lot about women I'd never heard of, but it took a ridiculous amount of effort to push through the pages of this well-intended manuscript. I'm not sure Clara Brown herself could have gotten through the whole thing, even if she'd been able to read (you'll learn about her if you pick up a copy).

I have two beefs with Frontier Grit…

Mary Bronson
I thought this was a great book. I really enjoyed reading it. The book was a quick read. Each of the twelve women mentioned in this book were very fascinating. I liked at the end of each chapter there was a further reading section about different books the ladies were mentioned in. After reading it I now want to do my own research about each of these women to learn more about them and other women like them.
Sep 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
I found this book difficult to rate. The title and the cover drew me in. Pioneer history has always fascinated me. Now with that being said, I didn't enjoy this book. I listened to the audio, which was fine so I can't find fault with that.

The book is about twelve pioneer women, and their mark on history. I love that whole concept, but maybe I was expecting more. The author used some very broad, glossy strokes in telling their stories. The material was 'light' and I wanted enlightening. Sadly, t
May 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: for-review, arcs, e-book
This review originally appeared on my blog,


FRONTIER GRIT tells the unlikely but true stories of twelve women on the frontier. The author defines the frontier as “a place where your people have not gone before (p. vii),” and to me, that seems accurate. Also, by broadly defining “frontier,” the author isn’t limited to the American frontier.

The women included in FRONTIER GRIT are absolutely incredible, and I think it’s a real pity I’d never heard of any of them before. That’s whitewashed, male history for you. I liked t“
Jan 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
**I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions here are my own, as usual.**

When I saw this title I had a vague expecation of the book being about women toting guns. While I'm all for women knowing how to handle all kinds of tools, I didn't know if I would become invested in any of these stories.

I don't mind finding out I was wrong. In this case I was delighted to be wrong.

Each chapter in this book gives a brief, but very w
This is a remarkable book of biographies of women who made huge contributions to this country whether it be on a grand scale or a small scale- either way, they made a difference.

Some of their stories broke my heart and some of their stories had me in awe of the woman's courage and strength.

The most shocking account was that of the child sex slavery that took place in China Town in San Francisco during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I had no idea that this had occ
Oct 06, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: could-not-finish
I tried listening to this audiobook, and the narrator was fantastic. However, this feels like it's written for children- everything brushes the surface, all of these women are just great and everything they did was hunky dory and aren't they impressive?? A very juvenile approach. As other reviewers have said, the authors thoughts on the woman and her grit at the end of the chapter was clunky and forced.
Apr 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Westward expansion in the 19th century was meant to create liberty and freedom for those with frontier grit. Often historical accounts cite the courage and resolve of men such as Daniel Boone. Frontier Grit contains the stories of twelve women determined to make a difference.

Nellie Cashman was a gold rush "boomer". She was the first woman prospector in Alaska. She worked alongside prostitutes and patrons to help build Tombstone Arizona's first school and hospital. Abigail Scott Duniw
Oct 11, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley

'Frontier Grit' by Marianne Monson

2 stars

I was attracted to this book by its title, and the cover photograph.

The book has individual chapters, each of which describes the life of one of the twelve women that the author has identified as a 'frontier woman'.The author gives references at the end of each chapter.

None of the women was known to me previously, and I found these sections quite interesting.

At the end of each chapter, the author used the b
Anne Marie
Jun 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved to read the various biographies about these brave and courageous women. The book made me feel as if I was back with these women.

This book was a win from the Goodreads First Reads Program.
Alisi ☆ wants to read too many books ☆
Fascinating women. I just which there were many, many more stories. I did like that I knew none of them, though, so it was all fresh. Go women!
T.Kay Browning
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This one caught me completely off guard. I was prepared for a pretty fluffy patriotic book when I picked this as the most popular currently available book in my library's digital collection, almost certainly because I'm sexist, but these stories were so good. SO good. I wanted more than half of them to be full length books, for sure. The non-European women stories were not afterthoughts but the focal points that set the more predictable stories of the European women into deeper context. A people ...more
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was one of those books that came in to my life at the perfect moment. This book is about women who went West, but it's also about women who overcame terrible struggles, who fought hard for what they believed in, and suffered more than I could imagibe. The strength and faith of these women was inspiring to me. I did not always agree with the writer, who put her own thoughts at the end of each chapter, or the women themselves, but I admired their grit. The two women I will take with me long p ...more
Patti Pfister
Apr 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: just-because
Twelve short short bios of women who had some connection to the West. Some of the stories were interesting and others not. It's a book you can pickup and put down without guilt. There didn't appear to be a connection among the stories other then they were all about women at some point in the 19th century.
Natasha the Bilbliophile
Mar 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Some very cool bad ass ladies in history. loved it.
Apr 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Coming from pioneer stock myself made this book all the more interesting. Great stories of some tough women.
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book consists of twelve chapters. Each chapter profiles a U.S. woman from the 1800's.

While I find the premise wonderful and fascinating, I had two major areas of dissatisfaction with this book:

1. While I understand that this format requires difficult decisions regarding how much and where to include details, I found myself in many places wanting much more detail where none was provided, and in other places where detail was provided I found those details superfluous.<
Jun 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
This is possibly the best book I've read this year. I loved every story of these incredible women.

The author states her purpose in the beginning (to tell stories of women in the West, and not just white women). I knew it would be varied on purpose but that almost seemed to add to how much I enjoyed listening to their voices and stories. I learned so much about them and myself. And my views have changed on at least one thing in history.
Jun 24, 2018 rated it liked it
It was interesting as a whole but some of the stories weren't necessarily about frontier women but pioneering women. I listened to this one. not bad but not a favorite.
Dec 20, 2018 rated it liked it
This book was a solid 4 stars for the most part — the author did a great job with racial diversity, which I appreciated, and the lives of the women she picked were interesting. I wrote down several of them for further reading. However, I had to drop a star for the way she approached Charley Parker’s story. Had the author merely stuck to the facts, it would have been a great story. However, instead, she blithely put her own label on Charley’s gender (and sexuality, making a few throwaway comments ...more
Jan 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Monson writes about twelve women who lived in the 19th-century American west. They had diverse backgrounds (some born in the Eastern U.S., others born in New Zealand, Hawaii, Ireland). Some of them were quite well-known -- labor reformer Mother Jones, suffragist Abigail Scott Duniway, artist Mary Hallock Foote -- but others were new (at least to me) -- Martha Hughes Cannon, a physician and the first woman state senator; Donaldina Cameron, who rescued girls from Chinatown sex trafficking; Charley ...more
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My wife and I listened to the audiobook and we absolutely loved the stories that were shared. This is a fantastic read/listen. I can't recommend it enough. The lives, accomplishments, and legacy of these women are inspirational. This is truly a great read.
Jun 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Although this was not an exciting read, I found it a fascinating book. The author devotes a chapter each to 12 different women who were notable during the 1800 and early 1900's for their accomplishments, often despite obstacles and challenges. My favorite chapter was about a woman who devoted her life to saving Chinese girls who had been enslaved in Chinatown in San Francisco. Her story is amazing! This is not an in-depth study of the character of these women but it gave enough information about ...more
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Not long enough! Because I’d seen this book at Deseret Book I assumed it was about pioneers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My interest in it was mild—I’ve heard a lot of those stories already. Then I saw it on overdrive and needed a distraction from how annoying it is to walk my dog, so I took a chance. I was so happy with this book and it made me so happy to listen to! The stories are all about women who pioneered the (mostly) American frontier, but the stories were also ...more
Hannah-Andrew Rios
Jun 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
True stories of women during the frontier era of the United States. There were eleven short stories that included some very fascinating and tenacious women. Two were Mormon pioneers, but there was a huge diversity in backgrounds of all the women. Stories included saving children from human trafficking, opening saloons during the gold rush, and championing suffrage. I was a little bit off-put by the author's summaries of "lessons" at the end of each chapter - how she thinks she should learn from ...more
Apr 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
2 1/2... maybe 3 stars???

Ugh I was soo looking forward to this book and I can’t quite put my finger on how to sum up why it didn’t live up to my excitement.

It was informative... like a research paper. Maybe a high school research paper. Just enough information to make you curious for more in depth stories about these women.

It was supposed to be non biased, but... a quick google search of one of the women I was not familiar with, but was interested to know more because I felt the bo
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Marianne Monson has worked with books her whole life, as an editor, a passionate reader, and an author. She is the author of nine books and counting, including historical fiction, children's books, and young adult novels. She teaches at Portland Community College, and her two children love writing almost as much as she does.