Days of Hope, Miles of Misery: Love and Loss on the Oregon Trail

Days of Hope, Miles of Misery: Love and Loss on the Oregon Trail

by Fred Dickey


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They knew the trip would be difficult, but they didn't bargain on hell.

The shout "giddap" starts the oxen down a path to the end of the world. For five months, and two thousand miles, the wagon train lumbers toward California on the Oregon Trail and into big trouble. The emigrants endure disease, dirt, and attacks from outlaws, and invaded Indians. Bitter strife erupts between ill-matched pioneers forced together by necessity.

The 1845 wagon train is part of a vast westward movement; a monument to Americana that fascinates readers 175 years later.

In one of the wagons is a heart-sick physician, Hannah Blanc, whose tribulations are Jobian: the suicide of a beloved husband, unfair denial of her medical career by graybeards of the profession, and a nightmarish new "marriage of necessity to a vile man named Ed Spencer.

The guide is a hard-to-figure mountain man, Nimrod Lee, who knows the trail, but is also looking a man he needs to kill. Guilt over the murder of his Crow wife beclouds his conscience. Betrayal of his word to her chief father threatens his life. The killer of his wife is still out there.

A love affair between Hannah and Nimrod is inevitable, but it's complicated, because for both, painful histories and mixed-up emotions make tall walls. The heart of the story is the pool of misgivings that threatens to drown their tenuous affair.

The wagon train is a village of strangers locked together with no escape.

Cholera is the killer and diarrhea is the tormentor. Mosquitoes are a biblical plague. The sun, the heat, the dust, the cold, the snow-all are partners in misery.

The last part of the trek is the most miserably. The dreaded Forty Mile Desert is all sand, sun and no water for days. The Sierra Nevada surprises with an early winter that takes their suffering to a higher plane.

Beyond all they must endure, the pioneers keep fighting, and keep coming. Those who make it are survivors; survivors with a great story to tell.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

A review by a founder of the Oregon-California Trails Association, historian and author William E. Hill:

If 'n you're hanker in' for a historical novel that is full of adventure and that takes a hard look at the "elephant," ie., the dangers and hazards, that so tried the emigrants going west, look no further, it is Fred Dickey's Days of Hope, Miles of Misery. The story is set in the mid-1840s at the end of the fur trade and the beginning of Manifest Destiny on the then developing Oregon-California trail. It combines adventure and romance, personal conflict and hardships, celebrations and sorrows as a wagon train travels and encounters various dangerous situations on its almost 2,000 mile journey west to California.

Nimrod Lee was a grieving and former mountain man turned guide, and Hannah Blanc, a rebel for her time, and a recently remarried widower and mother, whom many modern women can identify with, are the featured characters.

The characters' dialogue is realistic. An emigrant from the 1840-60s would feel at home in this novel.

I would recommend this "good read" to my friends, - and you, are now one of them.

Editorial Review, from K.C. Finn, author and professional reviewer:

As the subtitle suggests, the work is set during the pioneering time of the mid-nineteenth century when brave folk set out to carve their destinies via the harrowing journey of the Oregon Trail. We follow many lives as they intertwine, but most notably that of doctor Hannah Blanc and mountain man Nimrod Lee. As the pair struggles with their own demons, their union brings about yet more complexity and strife.

Author Fred Dickey has crafted a really interesting novel with plenty of historical flavor, setting out the harsh realities of this time period, but also its many rewards and triumphs for true hard work. It was clear to see that the author engaged in heavy research for the piece, as every page is packed with intricate historical details.

Overall, I would highly recommend Days of Hope, Miles of Misery - Love and Loss on the Oregon Trail as an accomplished work of historical fiction.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781735834108
Publisher: Fred Dickey
Publication date: 10/28/2020
Series: Days of Hope , #1
Pages: 442
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.98(d)

Customer Reviews