Rating: 4 / 5
I have not read too many books that focus on the point in history where wagon trains were making their dangerous way across the Oregon Trail to California. The last one I read was a paranormal twist on the Donner Party story so I was happy to give a more reality based story a go when WHERE THE LOST WANDER by Amy Harmon arrived in my adult Once Upon a Book Club book box!
If you aren’t familiar with this subscription, each month you get a new release book and a series of wrapped gifts (usually about 3 or 4) which correspond with the book to be opened as you read. Notes inside the book will let you know when it is time to open your next gift! I am pretty new to the subscription, but I have really been enjoying the experience! If you are interested in subscribing DGREADS10 will give you 10% off your first order!
WHERE THE LOST WANDER follows Naomi May, a young widow at only 20 years old traveling west by wagon with her family, her in-laws and many others bound for a new life across the Oregon Trail. The book opens with tragedy which leaves much of the family dead and separates Naomi from those she loves. From this tragic opening we are taken back to the start of their journey, getting to know Naomi and her family and the boy she is falling for. John Lowry is a half-Pawnee man who feels left out of both the white and the Pawnee world, but his feelings for Naomi lead him to do anything he can to track her down.
This book was beautifully written and it absolutely tugs at the heart. Starting with the death of Naomi’s family, it was a bit heartbreaking to go back in time and get to meet and love all of the people in her life knowing what was coming. The trip west is one fraught with danger and the author conveyed that well. I thought that the relationship between Naomi and John was well done as they dealt with multiple hurdles between prejudice (particularly from her in-laws), illness and danger. It was interesting to learn in the author’s notes that the main characters were based on people from her family tree, pulling from journals and historical papers, though fictionalized.
I loved finding a great historical fiction read about a period of time I haven’t read a lot about and I really enjoyed opening my Once Upon a Book Club gifts as I went!