Prairie Song: A Novel, Hearts Seeking Home Book 1

Prairie Song: A Novel, Hearts Seeking Home Book 1

4.7 16
by Mona Hodgson

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The first step in a challenging journey is often the one that means the most. 
Though it means saying goodbye to the beloved friends and spiritual mentors of her St. Charles, Missouri quilting circle, Anna Goben is certain that she needs to enlist her family in the Boones Lick Company wagon train. The loss of her beloved brother in the…  See more details below


The first step in a challenging journey is often the one that means the most. 
Though it means saying goodbye to the beloved friends and spiritual mentors of her St. Charles, Missouri quilting circle, Anna Goben is certain that she needs to enlist her family in the Boones Lick Company wagon train. The loss of her beloved brother in the Civil War has paralyzed her mother and grandfather in a malaise of grief and depression and Anna is convinced that only a fresh start in the Promised Land of California can bring her family back to her. Although the unknown perils of the trail west loom, Anna’s commitment to caring for her loved ones leaves no room for fear—or even loving someone new. 
During the five-month journey, trail hand Caleb Reger plans to keep a low profile as he watches over the band of travelers. Guarding secrets about his past and avoiding God’s calling on his life, Caleb wants to steer as far from Anna as she does him, but she proves to be just as he assessed her from the beginning— independent, beautiful trouble.
Led by a pillar of hope, the group faces rough terrain that begins to take a toll on their spirits. Will the wilderness of suffering lead them astray, or will the gentle song of love that echoes across the prairie turn their hearts toward God’s grace and the promise of a new home?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Hodgson (Two Brides Too Many) continues the stories of Anna Goben and Caroline Milburn, first introduced in The Quilted Heart e-book novellas. Anna, her mother, and grandfather continue to grieve for the loss of Anna’s brother, killed in the Civil War. Hoping a new environment will revive their spirits, the trio make plans to join the Boones Lick Company wagon train headed to California. Caroline, a war widow, wants a fresh start as well, but first she must overcome trail master Garrett Cowlishaw’s objections to a single woman attempting the arduous journey. Among the Boone Lick trail hands are Caleb Reger, a man trying to outrun his past; Boney Hughes, Anna’s brother’s best friend and the man she jilted at the altar; and Isaac, a former slave adjusting to life as a free man. The rustic setting of the trail lends itself to drama, while the sheer number of unattached men and women allows for ample doses of romance and rejection. A bonus for lovers of light historical fiction. Agent: Janet Kobobel Grant, Books & Such Literary Agency. (Aug.)

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The Crown Publishing Group
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Hearts Seeking Home
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Random House
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3 MB

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1866, April

Anna Goben’s bedchamber spun about her.

Hattie Pemberton, a friend from the Saint Charles quilting circle, stood behind her at the dressing table, weaving Anna’s golden-brown hair into a loose chignon. A cord of hair hung on either side of Anna’s face while Hattie worked on the back. Anna’s stomach felt like it had taken in boarders with fl uttering wings, and seeing herself in the mirror above the table wasn’t helping matters. Closing her eyes, she gripped the wrought-iron handles on the bench as if she could brace herself against the wave of nausea. Was her sudden decision to marry Boney the reason for the jitters, or did all women feel sick to their stomach and lightheaded directly before they wed?

She’d probably feel less nervous if more of her quilting circle friends had been able to come, especially the married ones. Emilie and Maren had planned to attend the wedding, but then Emilie’s father fell ill that morning and Caroline needed Maren’s help in the dry goods store.

A twist of hair bounced free, tickling Anna’s ear as Hattie’s tender hand rested on her shoulder. Anna opened her eyes and made herself look in the mirror. Concern etched her friend’s blue-gray eyes.

Hattie tipped her head, causing the wide brim of her yellow hat to bobble. “You look as if you’ve seen an apparition. You’re nearly as white as the frame on the mirror. Are you feeling well?”

Anna slowly turned her head to the right, then just as deliberately to the left, all the while looking into Hattie’s refl ection in the mirror. No, she was not all right. Nothing had been right since her brother’s death. The void Dedrick’s absence left in the family was wrong, and she’d been unable to make anything right since the letter from the Department of War arrived nearly a year and a half ago. She patted the hand on her shoulder. Her friend also knew about the high cost of the war. Hattie’s brother had come home last year spared, but her father had died in battle in ’63.

“Being ill on your wedding day is a serious problem, don’t you think?” Hattie arched her thick eyebrows. “I should let your mother know.”

“No need to make a fuss.”

“But if you’re ill, you should postpone the ceremony.”

Anna sighed. Hattie knew a lot about life for her sixteen years, but her mother had little in common with Anna’s. Bette Pemberton may be willing to postpone a wedding due to the jitters, but Mutter would have no such inclination. Mutter’s heart was set on this wedding, her mind made up. Anna regretted the day she’d mentioned Boney’s surprising proposal and her refusal.

No, she couldn’t postpone the ceremony. The sitting room brimmed with guests. According to Hattie’s earlier report, Boney had spiffed up splendidly for the occasion. His boss, Garrett Cowlishaw, captain of the wagon caravan, stood with Boney and the pastor. And three of Boney’s fellow trail hands were part of the crowd who had come to see them wed. She couldn’t disappoint them. Most of all, she couldn’t disappoint Boney.

Drawing in a deep breath, Anna released her grip on the bench and pressed the silk ribbon at her waist. “I’m feeling a bit nervous, is all.” She nearly laughed at the absurdity of her understatement. She was far more than a tad or a smidge nervous. She hadn’t expected to marry so soon after her eighteenth birthday. Ever, really. Not since Dedrick died, not now that she had to look after Mutter and Großvater.

But marriage to Boney would give her a life apart from them. Somewhat, anyway.

“Anna?” Hattie’s voice brought her back to reality. “You’re nervous about the ceremony?”

Nervous about all of it. The wedding and the marriage. Nervous about the caravan of wagons that would take her and her family away from Saint Charles. She was six when Mutter moved them to the riverside Missouri town to live with Großvater. For twelve years, she’d called Saint Charles her home. Keeping her reservations to herself, Anna smoothed the lace collar on her dress.

“If you’re having—”

“I’ll be fine. I’m sure it’s customary for a bride-to-be to feel anxious.” Was she trying to reassure Hattie or herself? Anna couldn’t say with certainty.

“Customary, yes, but to the point of becoming ill?” Hattie lifted the loose curl at Anna’s ear and returned to her task. “You and Boney have been good friends for many years.”

Anna dipped her chin in a short nod. “Most of my way through school. The year before Boney left for the war, he played Joseph in the Christmas pageant, and I played Mary.”

Hattie nodded, her hat brim bouncing again. “Friends, yes. But marriage, well, that’s a lifelong commitment.” She picked up the strands of hair she’d left hanging and began plaiting them.

Marriage hadn’t been a lifelong commitment for Anna’s parents. When she was a girl, her father had walked away and never looked back. Anna worried the seam in her muslin dress. Her friendship with Boney was largely based on the past, before the war. He had been the closest friend of her brother, Dedrick.

When Boney returned to Saint Charles a month ago with his condolences for the loss of her brother, she and Boney shared memories and commiserated over the damage the war had done. He witnessed its ill effects on her mother. In their subsequent visits, he said Anna deserved to have a better life, to be cared for instead of having to do all the caring. Then he up and proposed marriage.

“Are you having second thoughts?” Hattie asked.

Second thoughts? Third and fourth thoughts. She felt more like crawling under the bed than standing at Boney’s side in front of the pastor. And the cacophony of voices from the other side of the door did nothing to bring her peace. Still, she couldn’t change her mind now. Not with plans made and witnesses gathered. Not after the way she’d turned Boney down, then shown up at the men’s camp with a change of mind.

Hattie tucked the tails of the loose braids into the chignon, then met Anna’s gaze in the mirror. “Boney’s return and proposal was a bit of a whirlwind. And this wedding is quite sudden.” She lifted an eyebrow. “Are you marrying Boney for love?”

Swallowing the bitter lump in her throat, Anna nodded. Of course she loved Boney. Everyone did. What wasn’t to love about him? He was generous and lighthearted. A hard worker. Not only was he a trail hand for the caravan of wagons that would depart Saint Charles next week, but he’d been helping Großvater ready their wagon for the trip. And Boney had loved Dedrick as a brother.

Anna’s breath caught. She loved Boney like a brother. Mutter’s prompting had influenced her, but it wasn’t what had persuaded her to change her mind and marry Boney. Dedrick. She’d been desperate to feel close to her brother. When she saw Boney standing in Großvater’s kitchen, she felt hope stir inside her. Boney helped her remember her brother.

But was that enough reason for her to marry him?

“Perhaps if you stood and rinsed your face.” Hattie glanced at the washstand in the corner.

Anna nodded. Her thoughts had been untangled. It was time she did the same for her insides. It would feel good to stretch a bit. She walked to the wooden stand. While Hattie tipped the pitcher and poured water into the bowl, Anna pulled her washcloth from its peg.

“Thank you.”

Hattie returned the pitcher to the shelf. “I only wish there was more I could do to help you.”

“You’ve helped more than you know.” More than Anna was ready to say. She still had a question to answer. Was having shared memories of her brother enough of a foundation on which to build a lifelong marriage?

Anna plunged the cloth into the cold water, then wrung out the excess. She’d just pressed the cool refreshment to her face when the door clicked open. She peered over the top of the cloth as Mutter swept into the room, swaying and swerving toward the washstand. Had she been drinking with guests in the house? A wave of heat burned Anna’s neck.

Dedrick may have been Anna’s motivation to accept Boney’s proposal, but Mutter had probably been his reason for asking. Boney thought he could save her from Mutter’s unquenchable grief.

Hattie closed the door and joined them at the bowl. “I just finished Anna’s hair.”

Mutter tugged at the wrinkled sleeves on her shirtwaist. “Anna, you’ve kept Mr. Hughes waiting long enough.” The stench of whiskey hung in the air between them, taunting Anna.

Hattie sighed, her jaw tight. “Ma’am, Anna isn’t feeling well.”

Again ignoring Hattie, Mutter took the washcloth from Anna and dropped it into the bowl. The splash spotted Anna’s pink skirt. “You’re excited, is all.”

“But this is happening so fast,” Anna said. “I don’t—”

“Nonsense.” Mutter yanked a towel from its peg and studied her. “You still look a little pale, but a brisk walk across the continent will cure that.” She pressed the towel into Anna’s hand. “Now dry your face and follow me.”

It wasn’t how she looked that concerned Anna, but how she felt about this marriage. Feelings weren’t something Mutter cared to concern herself with.

Anna fell into line behind Mutter, taking slow steps toward the door. The jitters were threatening to topple her when she felt Hattie’s hand on her arm.

With one hand on the doorknob, Mutter grabbed Anna’s hand, pulling her arm from Hattie’s grip. “This isn’t the time for lollygagging.”

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Prairie Song: A Novel, Hearts Seeking Home Book 1 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Lane_Hill_House More than 1 year ago
Prairie Song: A Novel, Hearts Seeking Home Book 1 by Mona Hodgson, ©2013 A beautiful story of hope and camaraderie, on the most part; Mona Hodgson has brought us to the settlers of the prairies. As their trek continues amid unknown ground, they uphold each other ~ except for a few. Darkness cannot shut out the light of their journey. They band together to help in time of need. St. Charles, Missouri, 1866 A wedding postponed until ... the one my heart doth love. Join two months of the journey Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. --Joshua 1:9 Anna Goben is eighteen and she and her Mutter came to Saint Charles, Missouri, 12 years earlier to live with Großvater. So much has changed. Her brother died a year and a half ago in the war between the states. Her Mutter has become so different from the strong woman she once was. Now it is left to her to care for them and sign on the caravan that will begin their new life, away from pain and remembrance of these remorseful days. Traveling is difficult, with most of us walking. Our possessions to begin our new life are in the wagons, except for those who are unable to travel by foot. I am riding my bay, Molasses, along with Hattie Pemberton, riding sidesaddle on her palomino. She is a dear friend from the Saint Charles quilting circle. It was bittersweet saying goodbye to the others. We do not know if we will see each other again. This is a wide open country. Mutter and I passed some of it on our way to Großvater's, but I was only six, and do not remember much with all the newness around me. I do hope I will be able to convey my thoughts and feelings as we travel each day. Especially, my brother's friend, Boney Hughes. Some of you may have met him in the Sinclair Sisters books and also his mention of the fabulous cook and owner of the boardinghouse he stayed at. Company Potatoes is a meal I like that is prepared regularly. An Irish specialty, for sure. Anyway, Boney had asked me to marry him. In fact, we were quite close to matrimony until I told him my true feelings. I think he seemed relieved when I said I just couldn't do it. He was my friend and all but I couldn't base my feelings on his being my brother's best friend. After losing Dedrick, I thought it would keep my memory alive by being with Boney but it would have been unfair to him, and to me. We are excited to be on our way. It's just the three of us now. Mutter is sick quite a bit. I try to keep it hidden from others. It is sure to get better when we reach our destination and Mutter realizes how much she has. Most definitely, me and Großvater. Oh, I haven't told you where we are headed. To Cal-i-for-nia (kal-uh-fawrn-yuh, I am told). Caleb Reger is a scout for the Boone's Lick Company of wagons. When we get to California and settled, I am going to open a millinery designing and creating hats, and candles. I am full of ambition to have Mutter be active again. Full of promise! ...on this fourth day of walking better than fifteen miles... --Prairie Song, 78 Walking has been hard and the oxen wanting a noon meal. This morning Caleb read from Psalm 19:14, "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer." It has been a great help to us to listen to God's Word. Thank you to author Mona Hodgson for sending an Advance Reading Copy.
PatGMoore More than 1 year ago
Mona Hodgson is a truly gifted author. Prairie Song is set after the Civil War. Anna lost her brother and father to the war. Her mother's grief causes a lot of problems. Her grandfather seems to have shrunk inside himself. Anna is set to walk down the aisle to marry her brother's best friend, Boney. At the last minute, she waves for him to come outside. He returns and tells everyone the wedding is cancelled through mutual consent. Anna has talked her family into traveling to California on a wagon train. Boney is one of the trail hands and this makes it a little uncomfortable at first. Caleb Reger is not only a trail hand but the scout for the wagon train. He made some disparaging remarks after the wedding about Anna. To make the situation worse, he has to come back to town to get Anna and her friend, who had stayed behind too long telling all their friends good-bye. The wagon train leaves St Louis and starts the long journey to California. New friendships are made, several of Anna's friends from her "quilting circle" have joined the train. There are hardships. bears, Indians, illness, death, accidents and a number of things that could go wrong. There are more than one romance brewing. Some have to learn to forgive and try to forget. Others struggle to put food on the table after their food storage is destroyed. Caleb finds himself attracted to Anna and admires her strength, faith and the love and care she gives her family. Her mother is still having a hard time adjusting but her grandfather is thriving on the journey. Mona Hodgson writes in such a manner that I could feel the wind blowing the dirt and grit into my face and hair. I've been on that journey but I was in an RV not on a wagon train. I've read other books by Mona Hodgson and this is my favorite by far. Each book you can see her growth as an author, her faith in her characters shine through. I recommend that you read this one if you want a novel that shows the characters' strength, flaws, their adventures and romances. I received this book from the author to read, review and leave an honest opinion. I'm looking forward to the next book in this series. Hope you enjoy this as much as I did.
Shelske More than 1 year ago
This is Mona at her best. The characters from the novella the Quilted Heart continues in this title as they start the trip to CA on a wagon train. She keeps you involved with the characters from the novella & adds some others who blend in to make this a great adventure to read. I can't wait for the next title in this series. She weaves a wonderful story.
Laura_Pol More than 1 year ago
Prairie Song was a refreshing novel in topic that I have not read about: Traveling West after the Civil War. The last time that I really remember reading any books concerning travels that pioneers like Mona wrote about might have made is back in middle school! She did a good job in slowly drawing me into the characters and the travel itself! It was heartbreaking to see the pain and loss that the main female characters had endured in the beginning of this novel, but it was also heart warming to see these young woman heal and be able to love again. I felt that I could easily bond with Anna having a close family member battle with alcoholism because I did too a few years ago. I can't go far as to say that I felt I had to "police" this family member as she called it, but having to deal with the doubt and fear was always a struggle within me during that time. It was also interesting how Mona included Caleb's story in being once an alcoholic too, but now a man who would not touch another drop of liquor. His story pierced my heart in him not feeling forgiven, despite that God said He already has forgiven him. I was surprised however at how fast Caroline and Garrett's attraction grew. I felt it was slightly rushed for me, but I did not feel that way about Anna and Caleb's relationship. I'm unsure why I felt this way since both of their stories are very similar in how they met the other and how that attraction grew to love. The overall journey that the Boone's Lick Company Wagon Train took was amazing. I couldn't imagine having to deal with a bear, a thief, or even Indians who could have been violent! Mona definitely transported me back in time while they traveled along the land and was very descriptive how everyday life might have been! In concluding the story, Prairie Song had some pleasant and not so pleasure surprises as well as times that left me giggling and tearing up! I will be waiting (and impatiently if I might add) for the next novel in this series because I want to see how these pioneers journey continues! I received for free from Water Brook Multnomah in exchange for an honest review! (Thank you so much for allowing me to read it)
BrittanyMc More than 1 year ago
From start to finish, Prairie Song captured my attention. Mona Hodgson has written a beautiful novel full of deep characters. This is the first book in the Hearts Seeking Home series. I definitely plan to read every book in this series. I was also happy to discover that there are three novellas that come before this book. I was perfectly able to follow the storyline without having read the novellas, however, I now plan to read those as well. The author tackles deep issues in Prairie Song. Anna struggles to keep everything flowing smoothly for her family as they join a wagon train headed west. This is not an easy task. Anna's mother is mired in grief over the death of Anna's brother in the war. Anna takes on such a burden trying to handle all of the problems of her family. Will there ever be true love for her? Many interesting stories unfold on this wagon train west. Secrets, misunderstandings and problems abound. There are those trying to overcome heartache from the past, one who feels incredible guilt over the result of decisions he made during the war, and secrets that will eventually be made known. Mona Hodgson did an excellent job weaving these storylines together. Prairie Song is well-written and the characters feel so very real. It was a true joy to read. I received a copy of Prairie Song for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review, which I have given.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Bobbie Grob for Readers' Favorite After the Civil War ends, no one is the same. Families have been torn apart, loved ones are lost or dead, and everyone has to find a way to pick up the pieces of their former lives and keep moving forward. Anna Goben has lost her beloved brother to a far-off battleground, and now she, her mother, and her grandfather are joining a wagon train to head out west and start a new life. Prairie Song: Hearts Seeking Home, Book 1 by Mona Hodgson begins just days before the wagon train departs on a five-month journey. Anna knows she has to be strong for her family and lead them away from their despair, but there is not much time to contemplate her own needs and wants. As the wagon train rolls on, there are several other families to get to know as well. Ms. Hodgson has a real talent for creating believable characters.  Prairie Song is a lovely Christian romance. As it is set in the late 1800s the characters are already more chaste and reserved than the youth of today, so there is no bodice-ripping or premarital sex involved. The Christian theme has not been done with a heavy hand, either, so I did not feel as though I was being preached to as I read. Instead, there were just quiet assurances of God’s love and grace sprinkled throughout the book. I thought the whole book was beautifully written. I will definitely be looking for the next book in the series!
WildflowerMom More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this first book of the new series, Hearts Seeking Home, when the small group from St. Charles, Missouri, starts out on the Oregon trail, hoping for new beginnings and resolution to their past griefs. An interesting mix of people, not long after the Civil War has ended, some who need to forget their past and others who wrestle with present problems. A well written story, full of hope, forgiveness and gentle romance. Looking forward to the next one in the series. It was helpful to read the three novellas leading up to it, setting the stage for the characters. Looking forward to the next book in the series.4.5 stars
VicG More than 1 year ago
Mona Hodgson in her new book, “Prairie Song” Book One in the Hearts Seeking Home series published by WaterBrook Press brings us into the life of Anna Goben. From the back cover:  The first step in a challenging journey is often the one that means the most.    Though it means saying goodbye to the beloved friends and spiritual mentors of her St. Charles, Missouri quilting circle, Anna Goben is certain that she needs to enlist her family in the Boones Lick Company wagon train. The loss of her beloved brother in the Civil War has paralyzed her mother and grandfather in a malaise of grief and depression and Anna is convinced that only a fresh start in the Promised Land of California can bring her family back to her. Although the unknown perils of the trail west loom, Anna’s commitment to caring for her loved ones leaves no room for fear—or even loving someone new. During the five-month journey, trail hand Caleb Reger plans to keep a low profile as he watches over the band of travelers. Guarding secrets about his past and avoiding God’s calling on his life, Caleb wants to steer as far from Anna as she does him, but she proves to be just as he assessed her from the beginning— independent, beautiful trouble. Led by a pillar of hope, the group faces rough terrain that begins to take a toll on their spirits. Will the wilderness of suffering lead them astray, or will the gentle song of love that echoes across the prairie turn their hearts toward God’s grace and the promise of a new home? I used to watch the old series, “Wagon Train” and, obviously, liked it a lot.  So when Mona Hodgson wants to take us on a trek West on a wagon train I am all eager to sign up for the five month trip.  The ride is going to be hard and bumpy but the fellow travelers are going to make it all worth while.  Ms. Hodgson does a wonderful job of showing us how The Civil War and her brother’s death affected Anna and her family.  The strength of purpose she shows in trying to keep her family together is so well crafted.  And, of course, Caleb Reger is just a pleasure to learn about and watch how he relates with Anna.  ”Prairie Song” is more than just a great romance Ms. Hodgson gives us some excitement and adventure in this story as well.  Ms. Hodgson gets us caught up in the story and the characters to the point that we actually hate to say goodbye to them when the book ends.  I am so looking forward to book two in the new exciting series from this very talented author. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Press for this review.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Shay14 More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I've read by this author. I love when I read books by new authors and they are intriguing and well-written! I believe I've found a fantastic author. Mona Hodgson has a way of bringing problems many people face to life in a fiction book. The issues that each character is dealing with are real issues and are written in such a way that everyone who reads the book can relate to them. Anna Goben is a strong, stubborn, and independent woman. Circumstances have forced her to put her life "on hold" and care for her grieving family. Her emotions have been pushed to the side so she can be strong for everyone else. Caleb Reger thinks his sin is unforgivable. Since the war ended, he's been searching for a way to ease his guilt and find God's grace, but it's just out of reach.  This journey is supposed to be a fresh start for all the members on it, and the author does a great job of portraying the hardships and enjoyments of trail life. The plot and storyline gives you a look into what life might have been like on the long journey west to a new life. The hardships and trials faced by those on the trail are intriguing. The romances between characters in the books developed in a realistic manner. They didn't fall in love in a day as some authors are prone to make you believe.  This book touched my heart in ways that some books don't even begin to do - I guess because I've lost a loved one in the war and I can relate to grief and wanting to start fresh. I found the book sweet and interesting. Overall, this book was wonderful and I can't wait to read the rest of the books in the Hearts Seeking Home series! **I received this book from WaterBrook Multnomah via the Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review**
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My first historical romance and it did take me a little longer to read this book just cause it has a lot of different character with things going on in each one. So i found that I at times had to go back and reread to check which character we were talking about. But it is a great book. left me wanting to know what happens next with the characters cant wait for book 2.
sjziegler More than 1 year ago
booksbysteph says "I Fell in Love with These Characters" With every turn of the pages, I fell deeper in love with this book. The author used characters from her novellas, so there was already a back story to all the main characters, because there is not a lot of time to explain four dozen people. We are lucky with this book because there are two love stories to follow and one to look forward to in future books in this series. I felt like I was walking the trail with these characters. This book lured me in so deep that I felt every feeling the characters did - love, confusion, anger, sadness. I found myself saying "awe" out loud and a lot. I even cried with true pain in my heart. It has been awhile since I have read a book that I connected with emotionally. I am dying for the next book in the series! Until next time, live life one page at a time!
NanceeMarchinowski More than 1 year ago
Post-War Transitions The year is 1866 and the Civil War battles have ended but the anguish over lost loved ones has not yet faded. Several St. Charles, Missouri families seek new beginnings by joining a wagon train bound for California. Seeking new opportunities provides hope for a future of promise and purpose. A number of plots and subplots run throughout this story of trials and hope, and numerous lives are blended in the quest for fresh beginnings. The main characters have been introduced in prequels to this story. In order to adequately understand the characters in this book, it would be helpful to read those prequels. Numerous topics are broached, including grief, alcoholism, family dynamics and secrecy. Faith in God, hope, trust and love become the catalysts toward becoming a team of travelers. Leaving everything behind in the quest for a better future also carries an abundance of adversity and stress.  The author has written a comprehensive story of relationships through difficult circumstances. These relationships play adominant role in this story of challenge and misfortune. There are several families of differing ethnicities, which bring about challenges in their own right. The changing scenery is pictorial and descriptive. I had some difficulty keeping all of the characters straight, and had to backtrack a few times, but overall this book is well written, and recreates an adventurous wagon trail experience familiar to many. Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Random House, Inc. through the Blogging For Books program for the express purpose of my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review. 
dgottreu More than 1 year ago
Prairie Song by Mona Hodgson is a very well written Christian, historical romance and most of the story takes place as a wagon train travels west. Anna Coben lost her brother in the Civil War and the loss has pushed her mother and grandfather into a state of depression and grief and Anna feels that a change will help them. Because of this, she decides to leave all her friends in the St. Charles, Missouri quilting circle and travel by wagon train to California. Caleb Reger has secrets from his past and he hopes that doing his job on the wagon train will help him forget. Above all he wants to avoid Anna for he feels that not only is she beautiful but that she is trouble. The wagon train is made up of a very diverse group of people but during the five months of traveling, they begin to work together for the good of the entire group. There are many problems along the way such as petty thefts, damage to wagons, sickness, and even death. The thefts are never solved and hopefully they will be in the second book of the series.   The author did an excellent job in the development of every element in this story. She grabbed my attention on the first page and held it until the last page. The characters were so realistic that I felt as if they were close friends. In my mind’s eye, I could see myself walking along beside one of the wagons for the author made everything in the wagon train come alive. I could even feel the aches and pains of the people walking beside the wagons or riding on them. Descriptions of the scenery seen along the trail were so realistic that in my mind I could see wagons and people, hear the noises made by the animals and even smell the food when it was cooking. There was some suspense in the story and the plot line had a few twists and turns that added to my enjoyment of the book. The way that the author portrayed the problems of Caleb’s past and Anna’s sorrow were well written and showed the forgiving and comforting love of God. I greatly enjoyed every word of the story and liked the ending. I am anxiously awaiting the next book in the series so that I can continue the journey with all the characters. The following links to resources related to this book are included here for any reader that is interested. For interesting inside information about the author’s way of writing you can check out her website. This site will provide more information about the book and the publisher. To learn more about the author, read her bio. I highly recommend this book to everyone who likes a Christian, historical romance that takes place in the nineteenth century during the westward expansion of America. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers through their Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
wfnren More than 1 year ago
This would be an interesting trip west Anna Goben not only lost her brother to the Civil War, but she lost her Mother and Grandfather too. Wilma turned to alcohol after learning of her sons death and Anna's grandfather was lost in a malaise of grief and depression. Anna comes up with the idea to leave St Charles, MO and relocate to California. Wilma and Otto agree to go with the Boone's Lick Company Wagon Train, they won't go alone though, several of Anna's friends from her quilting club are going along while some are staying in St Charles. Things get started on the wrong foot as Anna had agreed to marry Boney, her brothers best friend from childhood, but as everyone is waiting for the wedding to start she motions him to the back of the church and tells him that she can't marry him. Being the good person he is, he accepted that and informed all of the guests that the wedding is being called off. Now she just has to face her Mother and Grandfather. Boney is employed by the Boone's Lick Company Wagon Train and several of his co-workers were at the wedding so they now have ill feelings toward Anna, letting her know their feelings later that day when she went to talk to her friends at the dry goods store and explain her decision. Not only will this cause problems on the trip, the men taking the wagon train west decide that women should not be traveling with them, it seems like the trip is encountering nothing but problems. I enjoyed the book but I thought it moved along kind of slowly, I did like the stories attached to each character and how they dealt with their individual problems though. I will read the next book, no title yet that I have found or when it will be published, as I am interested in what is in store for everyone. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BloggingforBooks(dot)org book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
J_Augustine More than 1 year ago
Secrets, Romance, Adventure and Westward Expansion! It's been awhile since the last wagon train story I read, kind of got tired of fluffy stories with no more trouble than a rainstorm. Prairie Song was far from it! The characters have real lives and real problems. Accidents happen, illness, and arguing between different families. There are trials and joys, heartache and hope. When I first started the story I was expecting the book to be all about Anna and Caleb but I was pleasantly surprised to find several other members of the wagon train get their 'screen time'. There are even a couple of more romances budding as the wagon wheels roll westward. Difficult issues are dealt with in Prairie Song, ones that many readers will find hit close to home. The growing confusion and sometimes antagonism reminded me in some ways of my own Grandpa's struggles before his stroke. Mona Hodgson deals with people's problems in a realistic but gentle manner. A completely enjoyable book with likable characters, real situations, interesting history, and some nice scenery/geography. This is one historical novel that you won't want to put down, but if you do, it is like an old friend when you pick it back up. Prairie Song is a story not to miss this summer. Take the time to read it, you will be glad you did. (As a member of the launch team for this book an ARC copy was was provided by the author for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own)
MyBookAddictionandMore More than 1 year ago
PRAIRIE SONG by Mona Hodgson is an exciting inspirational American Frontier Historical Fiction set in 1866 St. Charles, Missouri to Sacramento, California on a wagon train. #1 in a new series, “Hearts Seeking Home” oh and what a beginning! Join, Anna Goben,and Caleb Reger, and a cast of characters, as they travel on the Boone’s Lick Company Wagon Train, from Missouri to California. Anna was supposed to marry her brother’s friend,Boney,but at the last minute something happens that changes everything…..Anna marries Caleb Reger,the wagon train’s trail hand. Anna’s need to care for those around her is overwhelming. Her brother was killed in the Civil War, her mother and grandfather is paralyzed with grief and is depression. Anna believes a fresh start to the Promised Land in California will bring new life to her beloved family. Now committed to a new life as a married woman to a man she doesn’t know, Caleb, can she care for someone else so deeply. Filled with beautiful scenery, trouble,secrets, danger,fear,faith, the perils of a wagon train,a new beginning,second chances,and love. What an amazing story of healing,forgiveness,hope,God’s grace and the promise of a new life and a new home. I can hardly wait to see what is next for the “Hearts Seeking Home” series. Well written with engaging,charming and enduring characters as well as a interesting and intriguing storyline. Ms. Hodgson is a wonderful storyteller who draws the reader into her stories and holds them there. Her characters are realistic with their own trials,tribulations,hopes and dreams for a future with love and happy endings. A must read for any historical readers as well as American Frontier readers who enjoy a great story. We received an ARC for an honest review from the publisher. RATING: 4.5 HEAT RATING: SWEET REVIEWED BY: AprilR, Review courtesy of My Book Addiction and More