"I have thoroughly enjoyed each book in this series, and this one didn’t disappoint. Vickie McDonough brings her expert writing skills to the series with a story that will capture your being and keep you instilled into the pages until the very end. The characters are truly believable and realistic, giving you the feeling that you’ve known them for a very long time! I really encourage you to visit River North, the fiction division of Moody Publishers, and check out the Six books in this series. I will assure you, if you read one, you will have to read them all!" -- Joy, SplashesofJoy.com, 5/17/12
The Long Trail Homeby Vickie McDonough
Long Trail Home is part of a six-book series about four generations of the Morgan family living, fighting, and thriving amidst a turbulent Texas history spanning from 1845 to 1896. Although a series, each book can be read on its own.
When Riley Morgan returns home after fighting in the War Between the States, he is excited to see his parents and/i>
Long Trail Home is part of a six-book series about four generations of the Morgan family living, fighting, and thriving amidst a turbulent Texas history spanning from 1845 to 1896. Although a series, each book can be read on its own.
When Riley Morgan returns home after fighting in the War Between the States, he is excited to see his parents and fiancée again. But he soon learns that his parents are gone and the woman he loved is married.
Riley takes a job at the Wilcox School for the blind just to get by. He keeps his heart closed off but a pretty blind woman, Annie, threatens to steal it.
Through painful circumstances, Riley and Annie learn that the loving and sovereign hand of God cannot be thwarted.
Read an Excerpt
Long Trail Home
By Vickie McDonough, Pam Pugh
Moody PublishersCopyright © 2011 Vickie McDonough
All rights reserved.
Late June in Austin, Texas, 1865
Riley Morgan slid off the back of the freight wagon along with three other soldiers and waved his hand at the driver. "Thanks for the ride, Mr. Anderson."
The old farmer nodded his head. "Glad to help some of our brave soldiers get back home. Wish I hadn't been too old to fight." He clucked out the side of his mouth at his sad-looking mules as they plodded down the road.
Riley was thankful the old man hadn't been in the war, knowing he wouldn't likely have survived the hardships. Every soldier he knew was not much more than skin and bones, including him. He tugged on his baggy pants. He needed to find a new rope to keep his trousers up since the one he was using had nearly frayed through. In fact, he desperately needed a shave and a bath, but he had no clean clothes to change into.
Commerce Street spread out before him, and at the top of the hill at the far end of the street sat the tall courthouse. This was only the second time he'd been to Austin, the first being on his way out of Texas as a green soldier, riding to Houston to join up with the 8th Texas Cavalry—Terry's Texas Rangers—unaware of the horrors to come.
"Sure was nice to have that ride from Houston. My feet still ache after walking all those miles to the Alabama coast." Harley Wayne scratched his beard, studying the town of Austin.
"Just think how your feet woulda hurt if we'd had to walk all the way from North Carolina. Lucky for us we got to hop that ship to Galveston," Allen Harper said. The oldest man in the group removed his hat and swiped his sweaty forehead with his sleeve as his gaze traveled the town. "Woowee! Have a look at that."
Riley followed Allen's pointing finger to where a trio of pretty gals walked out of a store. His heart stumbled at the lovely sight. Pretty women strolling down the street, as if they hadn't a care in the world, wasn't something he'd seen in a long while. The dark-haired one reminded him of Miranda and caused him to sigh. If he could get another ride on in to Waco, he would be seeing his fiancée in the next few days. Excitement swirled through his gut, and he longed to hop on the first horse he came to and race home, but he wouldn't steal a man's horse, not even if he had to walk the rest of the way home.
At least he was done with that miserable war and was back in Texas—and almost home. He leaned on a hitching post, trying to comprehend that the war was really over. No more officers barking orders at him. No more shooting at his countrymen. He'd miss his fellow soldiers and the friendships he'd built, but not the fighting.
Allen walked halfway across the wide street and stood with his hands on his lean waist. "Let's find something to eat. My belly's rubbin' a blister on my backbone."
J.T., the youngest of the group, stepped forward. "Ma'll feed you-all."
All three men, Riley included, stared at the boy. He'd joined their regiment over a year ago and had been so mercilessly teased at first because of his big ears and bumbling ways that the boy had pretty much quit talking. Hearing him speak now was a rare thing.
"Your ma lives in Austin?" Harley asked.
J.T. nodded. "Runs a café not far from here."
Riley felt his stomach letting out a cheer; Allen licked his lips.
"Where is it?" Harley walked down the street hoping to spot the eatery. He spun back around, rubbing his hands together. "I'm starved, boy. What's her place called?"
"Charlotte's Café, and it's two blocks down Commerce and a block north on Pecan Street." He pointed down the street they were on.
Three blocks to home cooking—and, they hoped, some real coffee. Riley's mouth watered, and he followed the men from his regiment. A home-cooked meal would be worth the delay in getting home. Walking home could take a number of days—maybe even weeks, and with the few coins in his pocket, he couldn't afford to ignore the offer of a free meal.
Surveying the town, he walked down the wide street lined with various businesses. He was thankful Austin was intact, unlike so many other southern towns he'd passed through. Women talked in small clusters, and a group of children chased one another around the only wagon on the street. That's what seemed odd about the place—a lone wagon, only a few horses, and almost no men.
Would Waco look as barren? He'd heard that over two thousand men from McLennan County had gone off to join the war effort. How many of those had returned? At least his pahad remained home to take care of his ma. Riley flinched, wishing he could erase the past four years from his mind and could go back to those quiet days of ranching—days he used to despise.
J.T. turned the corner, and the other men followed, Harley limping from a slow-to-heal battle wound he'd gotten months ago. They'd be done wolfing down all the food in the café if he didn't quit his lollygagging.
Riley skidded to a halt and spun around, looking down Pecan Street. Who could have called his name? He knew nobody in Austin except the men he'd fought beside, and in the condition he was in, it was highly unlikely anyone he'd known before the war would recognize him. His gaze scanned the street, but no one was walking his direction. He found a number of the town's men standing in a cluster around a small herd of horses. Disappointment pressed down his shoulders. Must have been some other man with the same last name. He headed back to the café, but something in his gut pulled him back around. He narrowed his gaze and focused on the horses.
His steps propelled him away from the food and toward the animals. There was something familiar in their sleek lines and proud carriage. They weren't the gaunt, exhausted animals he'd been used to seeing the past year or two. No, they were Morgan horses—just like the ones his father raised. His heart clenched. Was it possible his pa had come all the way to Austin to sell some? So many horses had been lost during the war that they were a scarce commodity and would bring a good price, even if they were scrubs, which these definitely weren't.
He saw a man slap another tall man on the shoulder, and both men grinned and shook hands. The man closest to the horses was the same height as his pa. Riley's heart pounded, and he picked up his pace, all but running. The tall man saw him hurrying his way and his hand lowered to his gun, but as Riley drew closer, disappointment slowed his steps. The man was not his father, though he had a similar stature. He glanced at the sleek horses again—yearlings and two-year-olds, if he had to guess. Beautiful animals, just like his pa's. His throat seized up, and he turned back toward the café.
"Hey, you there."
Footsteps sounded behind him. Riley didn't turn, not wanting to explain why he'd been gawking at the man, but to keep walking when someone had addressed him would be rude. His ma had taught him better. He pivoted and waited.
A healthy, well-muscled man probably in his midforties stopped in front of him. His blond hair had tinges of gray at the temples, and intelligent blue eyes studied him. "Don't I know you?"
Riley shook his head. "Sorry, I thought you were someone else." He nudged his chin toward the horses. "Nice animals you got there."
The man scrunched his mouth up on one side and shook his head. "I thought there for a moment you were my brother, but you're much younger than him."
A grief Riley hadn't felt in a long while washed through him. "Nope. Sorry. I only had one brother, and he's dead now."
The man's brows lifted then quickly lowered. "Sorry for your loss. Was it the war?"
Riley shook his head. "Rattlesnake."
"Tough luck. Had a young nephew that died of a snakebite a long while back. Sad thing." The man looked back over his shoulder at his horses. "You're not in the market for a good mount, are you?"
"Morgan horses, right?"
The stranger's head snapped back, and he smiled. "I see you know your horseflesh."
Riley grinned back. "I ought to. My pa raised Morgans. I've tended them all my life."
The man's weathered brows drew together. "There's not too many of us in these parts that raise Morgans. A distant uncle of mine started the breed way back east. What d'you say your name was?"
Riley blinked, trying to comprehend what the man had said. His family, too, was distantly related to Justin Morgan. "It's Morgan. Riley—uh ... Raleigh Morgan."
The man's mouth dropped open and his eyes widened. "Not Calder's boy?"
"Yes. One and the same."
A loud cheer poured forth from the man's lips, startling the horses. "It's me, your uncle Jud." The man, his pa's brother, clapped him on the back, and seized Riley's hand and shook it hard.
No wonder the man had reminded him of his pa. Riley felt tears stinging his eyes. He was unable to recall the last time he'd seen the man, but that mattered not. Riley was back home in Texas, and he'd found his family.
* * *
Riley loped toward home on the horse his uncle had given him, excitement charging through his whole body. The town of Waco took form in the distance, the buildings growing larger the closer he got. As he rode down Main Street, he slowed his horse to a walk and studied the town nearest to his parents' land. There'd been times he didn't think he'd see it again, not that it was all that much of a town. Waco hadn't grown a smidgen in the four years he'd been gone, but that was understandable since the war had sucked funds from everyone's pockets. Other than the majority of the buildings needing minor repairs, it looked much the same.
Several folks turned and stared, but no one lifted a hand in greeting. Had he changed so much that people no longer knew him? He recognized Mr. Petree, the mercantile's owner, and his wife, the town gossip, who stood just outside the store's doorway. He couldn't catch a whiff of her, being as far away as he was, but he remembered how she always reeked of some flowery scent. She stared at Riley then leaned toward her husband, her hand held over her mouth as if trying to keep Riley from reading her lips.
He ducked his head and focused on the road ahead. He nudged the horse his uncle had given him into a trot as he headed out of town and passed the Wilcox School for Blind Children. A woman who looked a few years younger than he was swept the porch, her right hip swinging up each swipe she made. She cocked her head as if hearing Gypsy's hoof beats, lifted a hand in greeting, and smiled. He wasn't sure if she could actually see him or just heard him. Still, he nodded and touched the tip of his hat. She continued her work, again sweeping the spot she'd just done. She was a pretty thing with her waist-length light brown hair tied at her nape and hanging down her spine, swinging back and forth like a pendulum. The blue ribbon holding all that hair captive matched her dress. Was she a teacher? A student who'd grown up while he'd been gone?
She crossed the porch and stumbled over a rocker that stuck out farther than the others. Her broom clattered to the floor. Her arms flailed—and Riley slowed Gypsy, ready to help—but she latched onto the porch railing and righted herself. He shook his head. Too bad such a comely gal was blind.
But that was neither here nor there since another beautiful woman filled his mind. Miranda Cooper. He was as anxious to see his fiancée as he was his folks. The six months since he'd received Miranda's last letter had been tense, anxious ones. He tried to explain to her how he'd gotten caught up in the initial excitement of the war, but she'd continued to be upset with him for not returning the first chance he got. She didn't understand why he stayed. He never found the words to explain the camaraderie he felt with the other men in his regiment. He was a soldier—a man—and not just his father's unruly son.
At the fork in the road, he stopped Gypsy. He longed to go see Miranda first—to hold her soft body close and kiss her inviting lips, but after the way he'd left and the pain he'd caused his parents, he owed it to them to return home first.
Home. He swallowed the lump threatening to choke off his breath. He'd dreamed so many times of coming back to the ranch during those awful years of war, and now he was almost there. What if his parents didn't like the man he'd become? War changed men. How much had it changed him?
Gypsy tugged at the bit tightening the reins, as if sensing an end to their journey. Riley glanced down at his hands. They hadn't shaken this much since that first skirmish at Tomkinsville. He'd learned fast that shaky hands could get a man killed and had worked hard to master control of his emotions and his body, no matter what he faced. But he seemed to have left that control on the battlefield. Gripping the reins tight in his fist, he nudged his horse forward across the final miles toward home. He allowed himself to smile at the thought of the whoop his ma would let out when she saw him again. Excitement overcame his jitteriness.
Finally, he reined Gypsy to a halt atop the hill overlooking his family's land. Home.
A grin tugged at his lips. How many times had he wondered if he'd see this piece of rugged ranchland again? The familiar green-brown hills were welcoming. The few trees he'd climbed as a boy had grown taller, just as he had. But where were the cattle? His father's broodmares?
Riley stiffened. Something wasn't right. A tightness clenched his chest. Why was there no garden, heaping with summer's bounty? Nothing flapping on his mother's clothesline? Not even a barking dog?
He yanked out his field glass and squinted shut one eye. Not a soul was out and about as should be on a sunny morning. Narrow sticks jutted from the front of the house like pegs one hung clothes on, except those weren't pegs. Nothing remained of the barn but charred dirt where it had once stood tall and proud. His gut twisted. Where were his parents?
He shoved the telescope into his haversack. "Heyah!" He thumped his knees against Gypsy's side and the animal lunged forward.
At the bottom of the hill, Riley slid off before his horse had completely stopped.
Indian arrows. Comanche arrows. The front of the cabin had seven, and two more lay just inside the broken door. A number of bullet holes freckled the house's chinking. He swallowed hard. What had become of his folks?
His mind wrestled to understand. Many of the Indians living in Texas had been rounded up like cattle and forced onto reservations back in the late '50s or sent across the Red River to live in Indian Territory, but there were renegade bands that evaded capture, ones who still attacked whites and sometimes kidnapped children, like his aunt Billie. One of those bands of Comanche must have attacked his home.
Though the battle had obviously taken place months ago, Riley deftly pulled out the Griswold and Gunnison pistol he'd taken off a dead soldier after the battle at Shiloh and pointed it toward the house. The pistol's brass plating gleamed in the sunlight.
Taking a steeling breath, he stepped inside the cabin his father had built shortly after they arrived in Waco. He barely recognized the place. His father's skillfully made furniture was broken or cast aside. The English china his mother had been so proud of, passed down from her grandmother, crunched under his boots. Leaves and dirt littered the floor, something his ma would never have allowed.
Excerpted from Long Trail Home by Vickie McDonough, Pam Pugh. Copyright © 2011 Vickie McDonough. Excerpted by permission of Moody Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
VICKIE MCDONOUGH is the author of over twenty books including the Texas Boardinghouse Brides series. Vickie¿s books have won the Inspirational Reader¿s Choice Contest, Texas Gold, and the ACFW Noble Theme contest. Vickie lives in Oklahoma and is a wife of 35 years. She has 4 grown sons and one granddaughter. Visit Vickie¿s website: www.vickiemcdonough.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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This was a sweet, enjoyable story. It alternated between the viewpoints of Annie, Riley, and the headmistress Laura. Each are struggling with fears and obstacles, but lean on each other for strength. I did find it hard to believe that Riley couldn't figure out that Annie was not blind. There also seemed to be an easy solution to Annie's dilemma- why couldn't Laura feed and board her in exchange for her work at the home- without the pretense of blindness? I liked the setting of a school for blind children and the compassion which was a major theme of the novel. (Thank you to Moody Publishers for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)
Long Trail Home is a compelling story about forgiveness and ultimately coming back home. Not only in the natural but in the spiritual. We follow the story of Laura, Annie and Riley. Laura is the instructor of a school for blind children. She has sacrificed her own long term dreams for the children that she loves and adores. But when the school has been threatened to be shut down, will those dreams resurface? Annie, once was a homeless orphan. Now she has a family at the school, but will her deception be her undoing? She has found God's forgiveness but will her fellow man be as forgiving? Riley, a soldier come home to devastation after the war has found peace and refuge working at the school. But will he ever find "home" again? I enjoyed Long Trail Home. Although the story line was a bit slow at times, there is enough action to keep it going and Vickie McDonough relays a great message. Forgiveness is the main basis of the story. God's forgiveness of the sins we have committed. Forgiveness of our selves. And the forgiveness of others. Coming clean and telling the truth can be the hardest thing to do at times. Especially when we are afraid of what others think. But the best thing we can do for our selves is to walk in the truth and trust that our Heavenly Father will care for us and protect us and lead us home. I received a free copy of Long Trail Home from Moody Publishers in exchange for my honest review.
I thought this book was great! Raleigh (aka Riley) Morgan returns from war after 4 years to find his ranch in shambles, his parents dead, and his fiance married. With painful memories from before and during the war haunting him, he needs to find something to do to keep him busy. Annie Sheffield has lived at the Wilcox School for the Blind since coming to Waco seven years earlier, after her father's abandonment. It's the only home she's ever had. However, she has had to deceive everyone in order to stay there. When her and Riley meet, sparks fly. Can they overcome their pasts and accept the future God has for them? The plot moved pretty quickly. There were no parts that I found lagging. Riley is coming to grips with what has happened over the past four years and learning to trust God again. Annie is fighting to keep the only home she's ever known and learning that the God she's heard about can forgive her for anything she's done. The author did a great job of keeping the story interesting and the romance between Annie and Riley intriguing. The author also did a great job at weaving the message throughout the book. Doubt and fear must be overcome in order to experience true peace in any Christian's life. It's a lesson that many of us, including myself, still need to learn and experience daily. Overall, this was a really great book and I look foreward to reading the rest of the books in the series! **I received this book free from Moody Publishers in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.**
My daughter (12) and I are loving this series! Even though we are reading them all out of order so it is taking some figuring out, but I get them when and where I can. This book stood strong right along with the others. It has a troubled hero running from God and a confused, beautiful, young woman who bowls him over and helps bring him back to God even though she was the one searching. I gave this book only 4 stars because I found it too big of a stretch that a girl could fool a whole town AND the man she's falling in love with, into believing that she's blind for so many years. If she wore dark glasses...maybe. But she would look right at things, even his eyes once in a while and with a school full of blind kids he couldn't tell the difference? Other than that...4 thumbs up!! View all my reviews Posted by Audrey Grant
Vickie McDonough in her new book, “Long Trail Home” Book Three in The Texas Trail Series published by River North Fiction Division of Moody Publishers takes us to Texas in 1865. From the Back Cover: A weary soldier returns from the War Between the States to Discover his parents dead, his family farm in shambles, and his fiancée married. Riley Morgan takes a job at the Wilcox School for Blind Children in an attempt for a new life after the Civil War. By helping the children and the pretty blind woman, Annie, he begins to find renewed hope. But everyone’s future at Wilcox School is disrupted when the owner dies suddenly and the school is in jeopardy of being closed by the man who stands to inherit it. Riley’s remaining confidence in the future is shaken when Annie’s secret is revealed and Riley attempts to make peace with God. Doubt meets hope, and fear gives way to faith in the Morgan family. “Long Trail Home” is another romance set against the backdrop of Texas. Vickie McDonough takes up the story of the Morgan family that was begun in the first book, “Lone Star Trail” and continued in “Captive Trail” (though you do not have to read those books to enjoy this one, but it helps). Me, I really like Westerns. I like what authors can do with them and Vickie McDonough really knows how to write a Western. A School For The Blind That Annie and Riley work at is going to be sold unless these two can do something. Doesn’t seem to sound like much but let me tell you this is an exciting book. In addition to being suspenseful it is also a romance. Then there is the theme of starting over and putting the past behind you which isn’t always easy, as in the case with Annie. There is also the theme of defending those that need defending. If you enjoy history like I do then this book is for you. Ms. McDonough really makes you feel the heat and the dust and the danger. Every one of her characters seem to come alive and it is like you are there at the School fighting for it along with Annie and Riley. “Long Trail Home” continues being all about families and relationships and that is what makes this book a winner. I enjoyed this book a lot and am looking forward to the next one. If you would like to listen to interviews with other authors and professionals please go to Kingdom Highlights where they are available On Demand. To listen to 24 hours non-stop Christian music please visit our internet radio station Kingdom Airwaves Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for free from Wynn-Wynn Media 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.”
Long Trail Home by Vickie McDonough Book 3 of A Morgan Family Series Riley Morgan is a nephew to Jud Morgan & Billie Morgan from book 1 & 2. His father, Calder had moved the family from Victoria area to Waco. When Riley's little brother, Timothy had died he took off and joined the army. Four years later he is heading home. When he reaches the family ranch he realizes life will not be the same ever again, bad things had happened while he was gone. When he goes to see his fiance he finds she had married as someone else. Tired, worn and smelly he goes and asks if he can help repair some fences and such at the Wilcox School for the Blind in exchange for food. Laura Wilcox offers him room and board in the barn if he will stay on and help. Many of the ex-soldiers had turned to raiding homes and it would be good for them to have a man around. So Riley stays. Annie Sheffield had a new life for the past seven years, the only problem was she had to pretend to be blind. As a youngster her father took her from town to town. They earned their food by stealing. In Waco that first night he pushed her to steal a watch from a young man. She had heard a street preacher a few months back say stealing was a sin and she no longer wanted to do it, and this watch was special to the young man. But if she wanted to eat and not get her pa angered, she would do it. After stealing the watch and hiding out for a night, Annie discovered her pa had left her. That was when she saw the kids at the school were all fed, clean and dressed well. Laura knew she could see but the rules to live in the home were only blind children. When Riley came into the picture it changed Annie's life. She could not do many of the chores she had done without him noticing she was not blind. But he stayed on. Laura also has a story. At thirty-four she is still single. The man she loved years ago made her choose between him or the school. She felt a strong calling to start the school and help the children to learn to live the best they could with their blindness. Sean Murphy was a blacksmith in town and Laura would see him at church but they never spoke. After all those years could a spark remain between them? This story also shows how capable people can be even with a disability. Instead of being coddled and useless these children in the school are taught to do chores and live a life as normal as possible. These first three books of this series are all so well written. They flow together as if there is one author. And they don't shy away from real life. There is death and diseases. Good and bad people. Love and hate. War and peace. There will be three more books coming out in 2012 by these same three authors. **Book recevied through NetGalley for review.
In 1865, skin and bones Riley Morgan arrives in Waco only to find his family farm in ruins; his parents dead; and his fiancé Miranda married to someone else. Needing work, he obtains a handyman position at the nearby Wilcox School for Blind Children and sleeps in the barn. Annie Sheffield lives at the school where she cares for the younger children. She is attracted to the former solider, but has a pickpocket past that makes her unsuited for him. However, when an avaricious individual tries to close the school, Annie and Riley team up hoping to save it; along the way they fall in love and may save each other. The third Texas Trails Morgan Family nineteenth century Texas romance (see Darlene Franklin's The Lone Star Trail and The Captive Trail by Susan Page Davis) is a superb historical drama. The story line looks deeply at veterans coming home after the Civil War and profoundly at blind children. The lead couple is a delightful pairing as they share a whimsical previous encounter. Readers will appreciate this powerful character driven and issue dominated thriller as the third different author has added another winner to the saga. Harriet Klausner
I always love to get my hands on a book written by Vickie McDonough, she just has a way with words that make you not want to lay the book down. When Riley Morgan arrived in Waco, Texas in 1865 when he returned home from the civil war, he found his parents died and his fiance Miranda married to someone else. He was needing work and the first job he found was being a handyman in a school for blind children and the only place he had to sleep was in the barn. But at this point he was glad for anything that would give him a meal. 'There was a young woman that lives at the school and cares for the younger children and is very much attracted to the young handyman Riley. But she had a very bad pass as being a pickpocket and thinks she is unsuitable for Riley. But, when the owner of the school dies and may be closed by the man that inherits the school. As Riley and Annie fight to save the school they begin to fall in love but what will happen when Riley finds out about Annie's past. Riley begins to get closer to God, but can he learn to forgive Annie and accept her as she is now. I want to thank Jeanne from Wynn-Wynn Media for sending me this book for my honest review.