A Journey of Faith (Prairie River Series #1)

A Journey of Faith (Prairie River Series #1)

5.0 3
by Kristiana Gregory, Jim Griffin

Kristiana Gregory, author of many Dear America and Royal Diaries bestsellers, introduces readers to Vanessa Clemens, an orphan and devout Christian who runs away to find adventure and herself.

It is the spring of 1865, and the end of the Civil War is near. As the nation is struggling to come to peace with itself, all Vanessa Clemens can think about is her


Kristiana Gregory, author of many Dear America and Royal Diaries bestsellers, introduces readers to Vanessa Clemens, an orphan and devout Christian who runs away to find adventure and herself.

It is the spring of 1865, and the end of the Civil War is near. As the nation is struggling to come to peace with itself, all Vanessa Clemens can think about is her birthday. She has been dreading it for weeks. On the day she turns fourteen, she must leave the orphanage that has been her home for ten years. The orphanage headmaster has made arrangements for Nessa. Either she can marry the local pastor or she can become a servant . Those are her only options.

Then, on her birthday morning, Nessa hears cries flooding the sleeping Missouri town.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Gregory, an author of historical novels and of historical series fiction (Five Smooth Stones: Hope's Revolutionary War Diary), brings in religious themes with the debut of a projected four-book Prairie River series, which begins in Missouri at the time of Lincoln's assassination. Nessa Clemens is about to turn 14-the age at which she will be turned out of the orphanage. The head of the orphanage has arranged for her to marry the Reverend McDuff ("The Lord told me you're to be my bride," the minister tells Nessa), but Nessa can't help wondering why God would have spoken to Reverend McDuff about it and not to her. After praying for guidance, she runs away, taking the next stagecoach, which is bound for Prairie River, a small, untamed Kansas outpost on the Santa Fe Trail. Gregory captures the spirit of adventure as it sweeps up the settlers, and she presents Nessa's faith in terms of her grappling with religious issues, not necessarily having ready answers. Nessa and her friends quote Scripture, but unlike the girls in The Personal Correspondence... (reviewed above), their familiarity with their faith accompanies individual character development. A sturdy offering; to be joined in December by the next installment, A Grateful Harvest. Ages 8-13. (July) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Vanessa Ann Clemens, orphaned at the age of four and living in Mr. Carey's orphanage, is turning 14. This is the age when orphans must leave to make their way in the world and Mr. Carey's plans for Nessa are frightening. Her best friend Albert has just been apprenticed as a newsboy and he, along with her teacher, Miss Eva, serve as confidants to Nessa's plan to change her undesirable fate. Just after the end of the Civil War, within days of Lincoln's assassination and the morning after her 14th birthday, Nessa escapes her fate in Independence, Missouri by stagecoach. With some savings and borrowed money, she makes her way west to Prairie River, a small town that turns out to be no more than an army outpost. Braving the dangers of Indians and traveling alone as a young girl, she finds both persecution and acceptance from those she encounters. Her fears and her strong Christian faith are major factors in her courageous reactions to people and events. Her overwhelming concern is whether or not she has done the right thing. This is an enjoyable coming-of-age story full of conflict and strength of character. It will fit best in the YA collection and rank among the favorite frontier stories for girls. As a historical novel its value is in portraying something of what life was like on the open prairie at the conclusion of the Civil War. It also addresses many of the questions orphaned children have, some of which are answered for Nessa with the help of her friends back home. The author has contributed to Scholastic's Dear America and Royal Diaries series and written other historical novels. This book begins the Prairie River series and Nessa's story will continue in A Grateful Harvest,coming in November 2003. KLIATT Codes: JS-Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2003, Scholastic, 213p., Ages 12 to 18.
— Ann Hart
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Nessa Clemens has lived in an orphanage in Missouri for as long as she can remember, but Mr. Carey has a strict rule that children must leave at age 14. Nessa has been promised as a bride to the Reverend McDuff, and her 14th birthday is just days away. The reverend has told her that it is God's will that she become his wife, but she is not willing to enter a loveless marriage. She runs away by stagecoach to Prairie River, KS. Once there, she faces the constant fear that someone will send her back to Missouri, causing her to keep to herself and not share in the confidences of those who would be her friends. Through it all, her faith keeps her strong as she tries to make a new life for herself. In this first book in the series, Gregory has created strong, realistic Christian characters. Nessa's world, an 1865 prairie settlement town, is rich in description and historical detail. Nessa's faith, apparent throughout the book in the prayers she writes, scripture verses, and hymn lyrics, is not overwhelming, but rather flows with the narrative. An enjoyable story with a memorable protagonist.-Heather E. Miller, Homewood Public Library, AL Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Prairie River Series, #1
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.55(d)
760L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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A Journey of Faith 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
14 year olds in the orphanage are made to leave. Some become successful newspapermen,others(mostly girls) have a bleaker ,sadder,future in store. Nessa is up to the bleaker sadder fortune. She's forced to marry this 30 year old!(I know it may seem young,but gosh, shes only 14!) She escapes to Prairie River, the (barely a) town, where everyones a military daughter,son,wife or husband. The people are superstitious of this runaway orphan. As she learns about her past, she nurishes her loving for all children,and almost gains their trust. This book was touching, funny,and satisfyingly predictable.(there is such a thing) It has a bit of a cliffhanger ending,so be sure to have the sequelk with you while your reading it! Its not too predictable,has no mushy stuff(finally a book bout a eenager that has no mushy stuff!) and everybody ages 9 and up will love it. Im 10 and I loved it. My sisers 14, and she loved it. People who like fantasy, who like realisti fiction, who like historical fiction,and also people who like nonfiction will love it. Great for Laura Ingalls Wilder lovers! Kristiana Gregory achieves greatness again!
Guest More than 1 year ago
the prairie river books are the best ones i've ever read, and i've read tons! never have i read a better book than this! i've passed it down to all my school friends and all of them are crazy about it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I totally loved this book, if you dont read this you are going to be disappointed with your self. I loved to read childrens book even though i am 18, i read any book that looks interesting to me. Once the sequeal came out i had to get it and i did!