For readers of Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove, Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things, and Hope Jahren’s Lab Girl, Diane Smith’s warmhearted and award-winning epistolary novel about a spunky young woman who joins a makeshift field study in Yellowstone National Park at the end of the nineteenth century
“I loved this book in a way that I haven’t loved a book in some time.” —James Welch, author of Fools Crow
In the spring of 1898, A. E. (Alexandria) Bartram—a spirited young woman with a love for botany—is invited to join a field study in Yellowstone National Park. The study’s leader, a mild-mannered professor from Montana, assumes she is a man, and is less than pleased to discover the truth. Once the scientists overcome the shock of having a woman on their team, they forge ahead on a summer of adventure, forming an enlightening web of relationships as they move from Mammoth Hot Springs to a camp high in the backcountry. But as they make their way collecting amid Yellowstone’s beauty, the group is splintered by differing views on science, nature, and economics.
Brimming with humor, excitement, and the romance of the Yellowstone landscape, Letters from Yellowstone is a love letter to the joys of scientific discovery and America’s majestic natural beauty, as well as a thoughtful reflection on environmentalism, Native American displacement, and feminism at the dawn of a new century.
About the Author
Diane Smith studied western and environmental history at the University of Montana, and has lived in Montana for most of her life. Her first novel, Letters from Yellowstone, was the winner of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Fiction Prize and was nominated in the fiction category for the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Book Awards.
Winner of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Book Award for Fiction
“If you’ve ever visited Yellowstone National Park or even thought about going there, you’ll enjoy Letters from Yellowstone. . . . A pleasurable story which does full justice to America’s greatest natural wonderland.” —Parade
“Insightful . . . Letters from Yellowstone charms with natural surprises.” —USA Today
“An intrepid heroine and an ineffectual but lovable hero grapple with a supporting cast of eccentric characters in first-time novelist Diane Smith’s virtuoso Letters from Yellowstone . . . There’s surprising grit in this portrait of Yellowstone, and real charm in this quietly original debut.” —Elle
“Letters from Yellowstone has it all—great story, engaging characters, fascinating history, science in the making, and all the awesome beauty of Yellowstone Park. Diane Smith is a completely wonderful writer.” —James Welch
“A beautifully written epistolary story . . . The author brings an authenticity to the controversies about scientific method and the environment as well as the expedition’s finds. . . . This debut novel is an intelligent story, a charmer with style.” —The Denver Post
“Simply and brilliantly captures that time when the American wilderness was still a pristine, awe-inspiring place.” —Rocky Mountain News
“Diane Smith has written a book with real magic and grace. The prose glistens and the story lingers with elegant power.” —Thomas McGuane