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Published by Lake Union Publishing on April 28, 2020
Genres: Romance, Historical
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In this epic and haunting love story set on the Oregon Trail, a family and their unlikely protector find their way through peril, uncertainty, and loss.
The Overland Trail, 1853: Naomi May never expected to be widowed at twenty. Eager to leave her grief behind, she sets off with her family for a life out West. On the trail, she forms an instant connection with John Lowry, a half-Pawnee man straddling two worlds and a stranger in both.
But life in a wagon train is fraught with hardship, fear, and death. Even as John and Naomi are drawn to each other, the trials of the journey and their disparate pasts work to keep them apart. John’s heritage gains them safe passage through hostile territory only to come between them as they seek to build a life together.
When a horrific tragedy strikes, decimating Naomi’s family and separating her from John, the promises they made are all they have left. Ripped apart, they can’t turn back, they can’t go on, and they can’t let go. Both will have to make terrible sacrifices to find each other, save each other, and eventually…make peace with who they are.
I was provided a review copy by ; this did not influence my opinion of the book.
❝Regardless of their possessions or their position, it seems everyone has the same dream. They all want something different than what they have now. Land. Luck. Life. Even love.❞
1853 in St. Joseph Missouri, the May family, joined by a wagon train of emigrants, sets out from Missouri in search of a better life out west.
Harmon’s stunning portrayal of the trials and tribulations the band of travelers faced was both inspirational and tragic. Harmon is uncompromising in her depictions of death, rape, and loss. My heart was in my throat much of the time as I learned the fates of her characters. I yearned for their happiness as they embarked on a journey that would forever change them.
The beauty of the landscape and the people who inhabited it were captivating. But it was the strength and heroism of the females in this story that blew me away. From the white women who did all they could to keep their families together during their treacherous travels across the unrelenting land, to the Indian women who were the laborers, and nurturers in their families, I was spellbound by their resilience.
❝It’s worth it, you know.❞
❝What is, Jennie?❞
❝The pain. It’s worth it. The more you love, the more it hurts. But it’s worth it. It’s the only thing that is.❞
This was more than a romance, although there was a stunning and beautiful romance within the pages of this book, it was a love story of epic proportions — love of others, love of land, and love of God (in many forms).
I live in Missouri. I was born and raised in Independence, Missouri, the ‘jumping-off point’ for the 3 trails, California, Santa Fe, and Oregon Trails. Many of the figures mentioned in this book are ones I learned about growing up. In fact, a middle school in Independence is named after Jim Bridger. I wish I had a physical copy of this book. I would have taken it exploring all of the sites mentioned.
A compelling work of historical fiction, ‘Where the Lost Wander’ captures the spirit of a generation of people who wanted more for their lives than the lot they were given. They were willing to do whatever was necessary to make their dreams happen, never settling for less, they always strove for more.
❝The hardest thing about life is knowing what matters and what doesn’t. If nothing matters, then there’s no point. If everything matters, there’s no purpose. The trick is to find firm ground between the two ways of being.❞