When her parents force her to work at grand Ashford Manor, 12-year-old Cabby Potts will do anything to escape, including playing matchmaker between her sister and the rich young lord of the manor. If it succeeds, her scheme will save her family’s struggling homestead. 

If it fails . . .

Can Cabby find the courage to stand up for her family, a Native American friend, and an entire community threatened by land-grabbers?


Set in a time period not often featured in MG books, the Kansas prairie in the 1870s is a hard life for Cabby’s cash starved family. Grasshoppers have destroyed the crops along with occasional out-of-control fires. Cabby wants to continue farming the land but her parents are thinking otherwise.

First though they need an income so Cabby is sent off to work at Lady Ashford’s snobbish manor, also located on the prairie but far enough away you need a train or a buggy to make the trip. Cabby hates working there and misses life back home, especially spending time with Emmeline, an older sister, Her plan to have Emmeline marry the Lady’s son, Nigel, at first looks like it is working, but then Cabby uncovers the real intentions of this English lord.

Cabby’s first person narration flows smoothly through 41 chapters. Full of humor, and heartbreak, she is impulsive, but it works to her advantage in discovering the class system favoring the wealthy and their underhanded ways to acquire land. Even more revealing for Cabby is the prejudice against the town’s last Kiowa Indian residents, one of whom is a boy she gains as a friend.

Cabby Potts, Duchess of Dirt will appeal to both girls and boys as the story line keeps you guessing. It’s a look at a time almost 150 years ago. One that readers will never forget thanks to this engaging tale.

BOOK BIRTHDAY: September 1, 2022 PAGE COUNT: 252

A bit about the author, Kathleen Wilford

I’m a former high-school and junior-high English teacher and a current adjunct professor in the Writing Program at Rutgers University. Involving myself in SCBWI and a dedicated critique group has helped me hone my craft and learn about the kidlit market. Cabby Potts, Duchess of Dirt is my debut novel.


Coming up next week is another edition of MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY! It’s here I share highlights from other individuals blogging about middle grade books. Many of the posts will have reviews, interviews, and tips on writing. Take a look at PAST MMGM POSTS.

It’s easy to join the lineup. All you have to do is email me the title of the book or feature and a link to your blog at gpcolo[at]gmail[dot]com

Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately–and don’t forget to say what you’re featuring) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening (11 PM Eastern Time) in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday.

*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to m

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
This entry was posted in Historical fiction, Middle Grade Book Reviews and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. nicolesnook says:

    This sounds wonderful, a Little House with 21st century sensitivity

  2. Casey m says:

    This sounds quite good and I love having a female MC in historical fiction. I’ll be looking to buy this one.

  3. Danielle Hammelef says:

    I just received an ARC of this book and can’t wait to read it soon.

  4. carolbaldwin says:

    Wow. What a great setting and different sort of story. Sounds great!

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