Westering Women

St. Martin’s. Jan. 2020. 336p. ISBN 9781250239662. $26.99.
Maggie Kaiser and her daughter leave Chicago for what she hopes will be a better life out West. They join a wagon train of potential wives to gold miners led by Rev. William Parnell and his brother-in-law, Rev. Joseph Swain. As the group of women become more comfortable with one another, Maggie realizes that many of them are running away from past lives and secrets. The women learn to drive the wagons, tend the oxen, cook over campfires, and shoot guns, coalescing into a close-knit band of sisters. When the teamsters desert the wagon train, it is up to the women and two ministers to continue. Pregnancies, raging rivers, Indian attacks, rocky cliffs, blizzards, and 40-mile-long deserts are perilous obstacles that force the women to grow and learn more about themselves and one another along the way.
VERDICT Though the dialog can be stilted at times, Dallas (The Bride’s House) has written an engaging historical fiction about the strength of women in times of adversity. Though the women were all intended to be brides, we see each as much more than her connection to a man
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