Katrine: High Valley Home



With her family missing, nine-year-old Katrine Larson seeks her place among the Swedish settlers in a harsh, isolated valley among Sheepeater Indians and thieves.

During the Snake River Indian wars, Katrine: High Valley Home shares the traditions and ways of pioneer life among Swedish emigrants who struggle to farm in a mountain valley. This historically based novel is geographically centered on Long Valley, Idaho.


Katrine: High Valley Home is Erik Larson’s sister’s story. It is a novel of survival, coming-of-age, mixed cultures, and lawlessness. Although it is written through the eyes of a young girl as she struggles to survive extreme difficulties to her teenage years, first love, and the brink of marriage, it is written at a suitable level for young teenagers through adult. It is strongly based on Swedish culture as it would be in the 19th Century, the Native Americans of this region, the Chinese, and life and death scenarios. It is based on the geography and history of Central Idaho, particularly surrounding Long Valley. Katrine was awarded Editor’s Choice and Star designations by the publisher iUniverse. It earned a gold medal for best cultural fiction from the Next Generation Indie Book Awards. It was also named a finalist (one of two) for the Western Writers of America young adult fiction.

Although the fourth novel by the author, it fits best as the second novel in the Sheepeater Indian series since it tells the story of what happened to Erik’s sister, the lead protagonist of the series. As all books in the series, it is a good stand alone novel since adequate backstory is given. The series is planned to conclude with the Sheepeater Indian War of 1879. All illustrations are the author’s work. The cover painting depicts the country near Long Valley, Idaho.

Katrine: High Valley Home A novel by Joseph Dorris. Paperback: 414 pages – Publisher: iUniverse Star (May 23, 2017) – Language: English

Softcover: ISBN: 978-1-5320-2005-6

Hardcover: ISBN: 978-1-5320-2006-3

E-book: ISBN: 978-1-5320-2007-0

Product dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches – Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds

DESCRIPTON: It is 1862 as nine-year-old Katrine Larson heads west to a mountain valley in pre-Idaho Territory with her family and several other Swedish families. But when her parents and older brother are separated from the main wagon train (Sheepeater: To Cry for a Vision), Katrine suddenly becomes an orphan. The Swedish families want nothing more than to create new lives in America. Unfortunately none are prepared for the brutal realities of farming in wilderness amid Sheepeater Indians and crazed gold prospectors. After Sven and Margret Olafson welcome Katrine into the folds of their family, she never loses hope of one day reuniting with her parents and brother. Katrine knows her place will be to marry and raise children, but her dreams dim as the Swedes struggle to survive amid tragedies. Although Katrine and her adoptive younger sister celebrate traditions with other Swedish children, it is a German hurdy-gurdy girl who teaches Katrine about sacrifice and love. But it is not until the magic of Swedish fairy tales and childhood romance is stripped away that Katrine is finally able to see the realities of adulthood. Katrine: High Valley Home shares an unforgettable glimpse into a young girl’s coming-of-age journey as she clings to hope and attempts to survive among the wilds of 1860s Idaho.                                                                                                                               AUTHOR’S NOTES (excerpt): I grew up in McCall, Idaho and as a teenager spent much of my life wandering the mountains and canyons of the wilderness that surrounded my home. Although I have based the Sheepeater Indian series on gold mining and the Native Americans of the 19th Century, my mother’s family was predominately ranchers and farmers. I became fascinated with how my pioneer family in Montana and others were able to carve out livings for themselves far away from towns and without modern implements. Additionally, I have come to appreciate the many nationalities, which came to America, particularly during the 19th Century, to seek their own opportunities. Foremost they were Americans, but they brought with them their traditions and culture that have enriched our country. Katrine: High Valley Home tells the fictional story of a young Swedish girl who has come to America and has been separated from her family (Sheepeater: To Cry for a Vision). As such, this novel does not have the strong historical ties as do my previous novels. It is set in a fictional valley based on Long Valley, Idaho where I lived; however, there was no significant Swedish presence in Long Valley during the early 1860s. Long Valley had a substantial Finnish settlement during the late 19th Century when farming, logging, and mining were the area’s main industries. Otherwise, the Scandinavian people, predominately Norwegians and Swedes settled more in the northern parts of the state and in several agricultural communities on the Snake River Plain. Not as well recognized were the Nordic people who arrived earlier as lumbermen, fishermen, farmers, and miners, but generally without families. Some of these people figure in my other novels. During the time of the Finnish settlements in Long Valley, over a quarter of Idaho’s population was Nordic. The Nordic settlers of Idaho’s high valleys were adept at cool-weather farming and ranching and were also miners and loggers. The Nordic peoples also brought with them many of their traditions, for example, their churches, saunas, and skis. It is little wonder that the tiny town of McCall, at the head of Long Valley has produced a high number of Olympic skiers. I was influenced by my Swedish heritage through my wife’s family to write Katrine’s story. I have tried to depict what it would have been like by basing my story on those solitary farmers and miners of whose stories I am aware and how they brought Sweden to America. In the early 1860s there were several operational gold placers, sporadic way-stations, packers, and trappers in Long Valley. There were also a few scattered farms to the west in the Weiser drainage as well as along the lower Payette River. After the discovery of gold in Boise Basin, farms became established near Garden Valley. A road did not reach Long Valley until approximately 1880 and then, as I have depicted, it was rarely passable. My characters are fictional but set within a geographical and historic time. The trails north and east from Long Valley are accurate. The Sheepeater Indians, Nez Perce, and Shoshoni are depicted as known. Jeffrey’s Road, which became known as the Goodale Cutoff, and the massacre at Devil’s Gate are based on historical happenings. The original Fort Boise had been destroyed by floods on the Snake River and during the Civil War was reestablished at the current site of Boise. A few people were in the area but true efforts to build the new fort began in 1863, the same year as the establishment of Boise City and the creation of Idaho Territory.



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