Book Review: ‘Westering Women: A Novel’ By Sandra Dallas

The year is 1852 in Chicago and notices are posted all around town looking for ‘moral women’ to travel to California to marry men working the gold rush. The trip means leaving the city and traveling across the Overland Trail for 2000 miles. It means walking most of the way and helping out with the chores needed to be done. Food will be provided and dealing with everything else along the way.

For Maggie and her four year old daughter Clara it means escaping her life in Chicago and her abusive husband, who might or might not be alive. Maggie is on the run and needs to get out asap. She meets Mary at the initial meeting and sign up for the trip and they become fast friends. Soon the day comes to leave and they soon find it’s not going to be easy. Some women drop out right away.

As the trip progresses the women grow close and soon it is revealed that quite a few of them have secrets of their own. As the battle the trip, the weather, Indians and their past, one thing is clear, they will protect each other. And that will come in handy on this trip.

A great historical fiction novel with strong female characters that come together and form a bond. You get engaged with the story and characters right from the beginning and root for them all the way on this difficult journey. Imagine walking across the country in 1852, with no modern conveniences. A true testament to their survival.

You can pick up Westering Women in stores on Tuesday, January 7th from St. Martin’s Press.

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