By: Cheryl Yeatts
For: Red Rock News
Date: September 13, 2013
Arizona Real-Life Mystery Explored in Books
I recently celebrated my three-year anniversary as Manager of Sedona Public Library in the Village. One of the benefits of working or volunteering at the Library is being surrounded by books. Many of us leave the Library with more books than we can possibly read. In addition, we usually have books waiting for us on the hold shelves. So it’s not surprising that I have witnessed individuals in a state of panic when they don’t have a book in hand.
Book lovers are eager to share books and to recommend their favorite authors. As a result, I have expanded my reading interests. I now read books that I would not have picked up before I worked at the Library. For example, I just finished reading “Grand Ambition” by Lisa Michaels. I had to read this book to prepare for a book discussion. While the book is classified as a historical novel, it is based on the real-life story of newlyweds Glen and Bessie Hyde.
The events that inspired the book are summarized in this excerpt from the author, Lisa Michaels: “In November 1928, one year after Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic, a pair of newlyweds set out to run the rapids of the Grand Canyon in a homemade boat. Swept up by America’s obsession with feats of daring, Glen and Bessie Hyde hoped to set a record—she would be the first woman to run that treacherous stretch of the Colorado River. A month later they vanished without a trace.”
I have to admit that it took me several pages to get into the story; however, I soon had a difficult time putting the book down. I couldn’t wait to find out why and how the Hydes simply disappeared. I gained respect for Bessie Hyde in her quest to become the first woman to navigate the Grand Canyon. She was a woman ahead of her time—a woman who did not live to tell her story. I will never visit the Grand Canyon again without thinking of Bessie Hyde.
If you missed the community book discussion of “Grand Ambition” at Sedona Winds, you can check out a copy from the Library. In fact, Sedona Public Library boasts outstanding resources about Arizona, located in the Arizona Collection. You can also borrow books written by Sedona authors and check out movies that were filmed in Sedona.
I look forward to reading more about Glen and Bessie Hyde in the nonfiction book entitled “Sunk without a Sound: The Tragic Colorado River Honeymoon of Glen and Bessie Hyde” by Brad Dimock. The author, a graduate of Prescott College and a commercial boatman, searched the country for the true story of the Hydes. He followed each story and obscure lead to its end, even going to the extreme of recreating the Hydes’ archaic craft for a harrowing trip through the Grand Canyon with his own bride, Jeri Ledbetter. The book includes photographs and maps.
Sedona Public Library is a private, 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, supported by donations and grants. Your tax-deductible donation may be sent to: Sedona Public Library, 3250 White Bear Road, Sedona, AZ 86336. Thank you for your continuing support of free library services in the Village of Oak Creek.
Library News appears each Friday in the Red Rock News and is also presented on Sedona Biz.
Cheryl Yeatts is Manager of the Sedona Public Library in the Village.