Carolyn Niethammer's Books


Two women form a friendship on the Western frontier
Complete guide for the southwestern desert forager
Delicious recipes for prickly pear pads and fruits.
Women's Studies
Engaging story for middle readers on the life of Navajo activist Annie Dodge Wauneka
The life of Annie Dodge Wauneka, feisty Navajo leader and activist
A look at the lives of North American Indian women in traditional societies.
Old West meets New West in this guide to a legendary land
Learn how Indians used 50 edible wild plants

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The Piano Player

In 1882, Frisco Rosie, the saloon piano player, and Nellie, upstanding boarding house owner, form an improbable bond that takes them from Tombstone’s desert, to imprisonment in a Mexican jail and eventually to Dawson City’s frozen creeks in the 1898 Klondike Gold Rush. Challenging society’s norms for proper womanhood, they each pursue their own dreams for success, postponing romance with the men who love them, until for one, it becomes too late.

Reviews for The Piano Player

A Strong, Adventurous Woman
In THE PIANO PLAYER, Carolyn Niethammer provides a dramatic portrayal of a strong adventurous woman, Mary Rose Langley. Pitted against the rigid societal standards of her upper class San Francisco upbringing, the loss of that lifestyle and her desires for a life on the stage, Mary Rose heads for Tombstone. As “Frisco Rosie,’ she plays the piano and sings at the celebrated Bird Cage Theatre and meets up with real and imagined characters. Nellie Cashman and “Big Red” Sample make strong appearances. Niethammer delves into the motives, mistakes and loves of her main character with unstinting candor and beautiful use of language, especially in her descriptive passages of the settings in Arizona and the Yukon. The author allows the reader to experience the confusion, determination and conflicts inherent in the character’s choices. From naïve young woman to seasoned trooper, Mary Rose evolves in self-understanding and acceptance. She is a fine addition to the lexicon of fictional Western women. -- Arletta Dawdy, author of The Huachuca Woman

A Wild West Story
The main character in THE PIANO PLAYER is the Wild West itself, stretching from scorching Tombstone to the frigid Klondike...These are not cinematic stock characters. From now on, when I hear After the Ball is Over, I will think of Frisco Rosie, a frontier feminist who was not willing to sacrifice her liberties to accomplish what most women's goal was -- marriage.
-- Ann Evans

A Must Read!
This book should only be read when you can finish it all at one time! You will go to bed wondering what happens next...and then you'll get back up to read on! Loved the main character...she let us share in the adventures of a single female in that time period. ... This book was so well written I felt like I was experiencing all of the action myself! A must read!
-- Las Vegas Patti