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Overland Trail
     

Overland Trail

5.0 1
by Wendi Lee
 

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A powerful novel based on the actual diaries of the women who crossed the country in the late 1840s, The Overland Trail is a sequel to Kathleen O'Neal Gear's Thin Moon and Cold Mist. After her husband dies, America gives birth to a daughter who is promptly stolen by another wagon train family. America then joins forces with a Paiute woman and her brother to recover

Overview

A powerful novel based on the actual diaries of the women who crossed the country in the late 1840s, The Overland Trail is a sequel to Kathleen O'Neal Gear's Thin Moon and Cold Mist. After her husband dies, America gives birth to a daughter who is promptly stolen by another wagon train family. America then joins forces with a Paiute woman and her brother to recover the child.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In the second volume of the publisher's Women of the West series (after Kathleen O'Neal Geer's Thin Moon and Cold Mist), Lee imagines an unusual heroinean expectant mother who becomes a gunslinging outlaw by the end of her perilous cross-country journey. It's May 1846. After an uneventful trip from Philadelphia, America Hollis, 21, and her new husband, Will, arrive in Independence, Mo., to rendezvous with the wagon train that will take them to the Oregon Territories. Four months pregnant with the child of her dead lover, America is slowly getting to know the Harvard-educated lawyer she hurriedly married only three months ago. Among their fellow wagon-train travelers are the mean-spirited Reverend Sanford, his wife, Muriel, and their son, Lem. After Will dies in a freak accident, the Sanfords reluctantly take America into their wagon, but in time they abandon her but keep her newborn daughter, Sierra. The plot picks up speed as America and her newfound Paiute Indian friends, including the handsome Black Wolf, search for Sierra, leading to a dramatic conclusion. Lee, author of the Jefferson Birch western series, has written an inspiring tale, adding to the genre's growing number of resourceful frontier heroines. (June)
Library Journal
In this latest from Lee (The Good Daughter, LJ 10/1/94), America Hollis marries a man she barely knows to spare her Philadelphia family the disgrace of a pregnant daughter. When the couple starts west in 1846, they are virtual strangers. But the trials of the Overland Trail quickly force them into a partnership and eventual affection. Disaster follows upon disaster for members of the wagon train as cholera, fire, and storms take their toll. After losing friends, husband, and possessions, America is given wagon space by an unscrupulous minister and his wife, who abandon her after childbirth and steal her baby. Natives nurse America to health and support her daring rescue of her daughter. America's experiences are based on incidents from the diaries of frontier women, yet her politically enlightened views on slavery, women's rights, and other social issues and her rapid adjustment to trail life might seem implausible if one stops to consider. However, fast pace, numerous characters, and nonstop dramatic incidents will propel readers through the pages. For popular collections.Kathy Piehl, Mankato State Univ., Minn.
Coral Breeze Cape
Wendi Lee's tale is rich in the detail of daily life on the trail... Enlightening and thought provoking.
Kirkus Reviews
Despite occasional compelling scenes based on events drawn from actual diaries of women emigrants, Lee's (Cannon's Revenge, 1995) latest ought to be subtitled "The Perils of a Politically Correct Heroine Crossing the Continent." Even the villain is a second-rate stereotype in this exaggerated melodrama posing as historical fiction.

Pregnant, her lover dead, and pressured by her wealthy Philadelphia family to marry, a heroine with the unlikely name of America weds Will Hollis, a young lawyer bent on emigrating west. Hollis is less a character than an explanation for America's presence on the wagon train. In fact, her friendship with Catherine Welborne, a mail-order bride traveling to Oregon, is more believable than her marriage, and her indignation at Isaac Moore's beating his wife seems more deeply felt that her affection for Hollis. In an orgy of heroine-like acts, America champions Indian rights and the abolition of slavery, decries domestic violence, saves the life of Celeste Hayes when her long skirts catch fire, and buries Hollis after he is accidentally killed. Meanwhile, inept the villains, Reverend Tarleton Sandford and his wife, Muriel, are as devoid of virtue as America is of fault and even less believable. Their one successful act of villainy—the burial of America when she lapses into unconsciousness after childbirth, and the theft of her baby—lacks credibility. Not that credible is a prerequisite, as Lee demonstrates in the climax here when America, rescued from her premature grave by the Paiute Indians, steals back her daughter from the Sandfords and rides off to marry the half- Shoshone Black Wolf after first single-handedly rescuing him from hanging.

Improbable plot, poor characterization, and stilted dialogue keep this from rising even to the level of good melodrama.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780812555288
Publisher:
Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
Publication date:
08/28/1997
Series:
Women of the West Series , #2
Pages:
317
Product dimensions:
4.16(w) x 6.71(h) x 0.90(d)

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Overland Trail 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i loved this book i couldn't put it down i loved to sit down and read it i would read over time when my teacher said stop reading!