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Nancy Hawkins is loathe to leave her settled life for the treacherous journey by wagon train, but she is so deeply in love with her husband that she knows she will follow him anywhere--even when the trek exacts a terrible cost.
Betsy is a Kalapuya Indian, the last remnant of a once proud tribe in the Willamette Valley in Oregon territory. She spends her time trying to impart the wisdom and ways of her people to her grandson. But she will soon have another person to care for.
As season turns to season, suspicion turns to friendship, and fear turns to courage, three spirited women will discover what it means to be truly free in a land that makes promises it cannot fulfill. This multilayered story from bestselling author Jane Kirkpatrick will grip readers' hearts and minds as they travel with Letitia on the dusty and dangerous Oregon trail into the boundless American West.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-07-14
- Reviewer: Staff
Kirkpatrick (The Daughter’s Walk) exercises her considerable gift for making history come alive in this real-life tale of a freed slave who travels across the country to Oregon Territory in the late 1840s. Kirkpatrick draws an indelible and intriguing portrait of Letitia Carson, an African-American woman who obtains her freedom and then determinedly makes her own way in a unsympathetic society. Among her allies are her common-law husband Davey, an Irish immigrant; Nancy Hawkins, a white woman whose family is also headed to Oregon; and Betsy, a Kalapuya Indian whose separate story in Oregon Territory eventually converges with Letitia’s life. Letitia is fully imagined, and Kirkpatrick skillfully relates Letitia’s thoughts, cementing a bond of empathy between character and reader. Betsy is underdeveloped in comparison to many of the other secondary characters. But, on the whole, Kirkpatrick’s historical homework is thorough, and her realization of a little-known African-American pioneer is persuasive and poignant. (Sept.)