Tag Archive | wagon train

“Journey to Hawk’s Peak” by MK McClintock

MK McClintock’s Montana Gallagher novels are very good reads.  I’m glad Ms. McClintock keeps the series alive with new stories about the inhabitants of Heart of the Mountain ranch.  In “Journey to Hawk’s Peak”, she writes about Amanda.  Amanda helped her father out in their mercantile in Iron City, until his murder and a fire destroyed her life.  She had to run for her life and hitched a ride with a wagon train going west.  Alone and scared, she made herself indispensable to the families of the train by cooking and watching their children.  She found work in a saloon when she was discovered there by the Gallaghers and offered a job on their ranch.

Even though she was happy and content with her new life, she was in constant fear that her past would be discovered and her happiness shattered.  Before escaping Iron City, she had been falsely arrested for setting the fire that stole her livelihood.  A sympathetic deputy helped her escape and she’d been on the run until she reached Montana.  This story becomes very involved and I enjoyed reading about the mishaps, troubles and the solutions that the Gallagher’s find for Amanda.

I enjoyed this book very much and hope to read more stories from this series.  I will also be looking for books in her other series.  I think Ms. McClintock has a wealth of plots left for us to enjoy.

I received a Kindle copy of this book from NetGalley.com in return for my honest review.


“This Road We Traveled”by Jane Kirkpatrick

Tabitha Moffat Brown is known as “The Mother of Oregon”.  By using her diary entries and other historical writings, Jane Kirkpatrick has written her story of Tabby’s journey to Oregon with her family, “This Road We Traveled”.  Ms. Kirkpatrick has done extensive research into the life of Mrs. Brown and has built her story around that.  At first, Tabby’s son did not want her to travel with them over the Oregon Trail because he thought that at her age of 65 she would not survive the hardships they would encounter and would slow them down.  Tabitha was not one to give up however and was determined not to be left behind without her children, her son Orus and his family, and her daughter Pherne and her family.  Even though one son Manthano and his family decided not to make the trip, Tabby decided to go anyway.  The survival of her and the other family members at times depended on Tabitha and her fortitude and perseverance.  Despite illness, inclement weather, equipment breakdowns, non-existent trails, starvation and the deaths of so many, Tabby and her family pressed on.

This account of some of the settlers who braved the Oregon Trail to find a better life and new land is fascinating because it actually is based on the real journey of Tabitha Moffat Brown and her family.  How these pioneers braved the elements, Indians, starvation, loneliness and fear to find a new life is something I will never be able to understand.  They left their homes with little of their possessions and most had to part with even that along the sometimes treacherous trail.  Some arrived at their destination destitute and with the clothes on their backs; and yet forged on to create a new life in a new part of America.

I received a free print copy of this book from Revell for my review.  No review positive or otherwise was required – all opinions are my own.

“Christmas at Dove Creek” by Scarlett Dunn

Lucky for Thorpe Turlow that Lily Starr was a crack shot and was in the right place at the right time.  Indian braves wounded Thorpe as he was travelling across Missouri in 1868.  Not only was she a good shot, but was determined to make sure that Thorpe’s injuries didn’t kill him.  She had been part of a wagon train that parted company with her and a group of outcasts heading from Texas to Wyoming.  They needed to be at Fort Laramie by Christmas.  After Lily saved Thorpe, he continued to travel with them as a sort of protection.  Beset by Indians, outlaws, bad weather and other dangers, the group made their way to Thorpe’s ranch to winter until spring.

Having read two other books that Scarlett Dunn has written, I was pretty sure I would really enjoy “Christmas at Dove Creek”.  I was not mistaken because Ms. Dunn’s characters are very well developed as is her story.  Even though this book is sort of “Christmasy”, it definitely not just a Christmas read.  I was totally engrossed in this book and I recommend it to others who enjoy reading about the wild west and those heading westward.

I received a free print copy of this book from NightOwlReviews.com.  No review positive or otherwise was required – all opinions are my own.

“The Trail Beyond” by Sally Demaray Hull

“The Trail Beyond” is Book #1 in the Trails series, written by Sally Demaray Hull.  It is a Christian fiction book taking place along the Oregon Trail.

Rachel Nathan is a spoiled, prissy daughter of a wealthy Boston banker, her father, who has lost their family fortune and decides to take her and her brother Johnny to Oregon to start over.  Theirs is one of the wagons in a train headed by an unscrupulous wagon master.  Of course Rachel’s father doesn’t know one end of a wagon from another so the family finds it hard going.  Rachel is determined that she will not mingle with the “riffraff” and will keep her brother from playing with “their sort”.  She is also very anti-Irish.  This sets the stage for the rest of the novel.

I thought I might like this book after reading the synopsis.  I though the idea of a staid Boston miss getting her comeuppance along the wagon’s way would be highly entertaining.  However, I didn’t bargain for the constant Christian preaching written in the novel.  It was over-kill.  I also expected the wagon train to run into pestilence and problems along the way, but I didn’t expect that this wagon would end up alone on the trail because of a mean wagon master; and that they would be visited by snakes, bears, wolves, smallpox, Indians, tornadoes, snow storms and who knows how many other deterrents during this short book.  It was too much!  I would have marched myself back to Boston on foot!  I also found it quite laughable that at the end of the novel, the wagon only had to cross a hill and lo and behold…they were miraculously in Oregon.

I am very sorry, but I would not recommend reading this book.  It seems like the author wanted to get as many old west horror stories.  After reading chapter after chapter of worries and woes and becoming frustrated by the relationship between Rachel and her Irish preacher husband – yes that is just what I meant – I could not take this book seriously.  I won’t be reading any more books in this series.

I downloaded a free Kindle copy of this book on Amazon.com.  I am posting my honest review of the book.

“Wagon Train Cinderella” by Shirley Kennedy

Shirley Kennedy has written a very engaging novel in “Wagon Train Cinderella”.  The story is set in 1851 and beyond on the Overland Trail to California.  It involves a wagon train trying to get to California before the big snows start to fall.  It is full of the dangers, limitations, deprivations and sorrow that accompany these folks on their way to a new life.

The heroine is Callie Whitaker, a foundling who was taken in by the Whitaker family when she was a baby, who is really nothing more than a slave to the family.  Luke McGraw is accompanying his sister and her brood to Oregon.  It was a dream of Florida Sawyer’s husband that his family goes to Oregon and so Luke is helping his sister reach that dream.  The other characters in the book are very interesting studies.  The story shows that there are so many personalities living in these conditions and each person is changed in different ways.  Some come into themselves and show strength and fortitude that was not evident before and some become bitter and resentful because of the hardships of the trail.

For the most part I really enjoyed reading this book.  I am a lover of all historical fiction, and very much enjoy novels portraying the early days of our country.  My fascination with this westward migration does not transfer to thinking that I would have enjoyed such a journey. (I would have stayed in St. Louis.)  However, I truly enjoy reading about what might have been.  I was very involved in this book until the last few chapters.  I felt that the book was being rushed to a finish.  Without giving anything away about the story, I felt that one of the main characters was just dropped suddenly, although I felt that it wasn’t really the end.  That’s what kept me reading.  I think this is a good novel revealing a lot about the westward trek to California and Oregon during the middle 1800’s.

I was sent a free Kindle copy of this book by NetGalley.com in return for my honest review of the book.

“An Unseemly Wife” by E. B. Moore

E. B. Moore has written wonderful historical novel in “An Unseemly Wife”.   This book brings to life the sheer audacity of some men to want to uproot their families, leave their comfortable homes and travel west to new land.  They leave behind cherished possessions, friends, family and familiarity to travel with others of like mind, some of whom are not stellar persons.

The journey is arduous, dangerous, monotonous and fraught with illness, hunger and all things that would make a sane person turn back.  But also the different families who travel together can be made up of persons of varying backgrounds, religions, educations, and motivations.  Traveling together with unknown folks can cause more problems than being on the trail itself.

I found that I would not have been a good candidate to settle the west, away from the familiar, risking life and limb and the lives of children just to find more land to farm or ranch.  I recommend this book because it gives a good view of what those in the westward migration experienced on their journeys to the Promised Land.

I ordered free kindle copy of this book from Amazon.com.

“The Quilted Heart” by Mona Hodgson

“The Quilted Heart” by Mona Hodgson is a collection of three novellas in one printed book.  I read and reviewed “Prairie Song” and loved it.  The publisher, Waterbrook, asked me to read and review this collection and I agreed.  I was sent a free print copy of this book from Waterbrook and NightOwlReviews.com  in return for my honest review.

I enjoyed this collection very much.  I have family who live in the St. Charles, Missouri area and I always enjoy reading about areas of interest to my family.  The binding ingredient among these three stories is the fact that all of the heroines belong to a quilting group that meets at Mrs. Brantenberg’s home once a week.  This group of women makse quilts for the soldiers at war and also sensd care packages to the sons of St. Charles’ families who are fighting.

The first novella, Dandelions on the Wind, was a sweet, simple novel.  It is set immediately after the end of the Civil War when soldiers are making their way back home after the fighting.  In many cases, they carry emotional as well as physical scars from the battlefields.   This is hard on the women and children who waited in angst for their return.  They are glad they are back with the family, but worried about their conditions.  Maren Jensen is a mail-order bride who has been rejected because of her failing eyesight.  She is taken in by a woman whose son-in-law left after the death of his wife and birth of his daughter.  Maren thinks of Mrs. Brantenberg as a surrogate mother since she left her family in Sweden to come to America to be a man’s bride.  She is now trying to earn enough money to return home.  She makes her plans before Rutherford Wainwright, the son-in-law returns home.  This is their story.

The second novella is Bending Toward the Sun, which is the story of one of Maren’s friends, Emilie.  Emilie is all her father has.  He needs her to help run the general store and dissuades her from having any suitors.  However, a returned soldier, a former friend of Emilie’s comes home and together they try to forge a new life together.

Ripples Along the Shore is the third novella.  Many families in St. Charles, Missouri are planning to turn to the west for a new life by joining the Boone’s Lick Wagon Train.  Garrett Cowlishaw served in the Confederate army and is friends with Rutherford Wainwright.  He has been hired to lead the wagon train west.  One of Maren’s friends, Caroline has been waiting for her husband to return from the war, but is slowly giving up hope that he is still alive.  She does not care for Garrett at all because he fought on the opposite side from her husband.  Will Caroline ever forgive Garrett for being on the “wrong side”?  Will her husband finally come home to her or will she decides to go west with the other families?

I enjoyed each of these novellas in their own right, but having them together in a collection is a perfect way to read the connected stories.  I recommend this book highly.