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?
Mona Hodgson’s newest series, Hearts Seeking Home, tells the story of a wagon train heading west. It kicks off with Prairie Song, which details the train’s departure from Saint Charles, Missouri, and the first part of the land crossing. The majority of the characters and their stories were introduced in Hodgson’s recent Quilted Heart e-book trilogy. Since this book leads off directly from those titles, I definitely recommend reading those first if you can. Each is a novella, so they don’t take too long to get through.
It is 1866, and just one year after General Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House. Civil War tensions still run high. Several of the pioneers lost family members fighting for the Union, a former Confederate soldier is their guide, and one of the trail hands is a former slave. Men, women and children of differing ages, nationalities, and abilities have to pull together if they’re to make it to California. The perils of the trail vary from bad cooking to dangerous wildlife. When personal items go missing there’s plenty of suspicion to go around.
Once again, Mona Hodgson has written an historical gem with plenty of individual and engaging characters. In Prairie Song, she allows us to imagine what the journey was like for those brave spirits who left behind their comfortable and familiar lives in search of something better. Nor does she shy away from the harsher elements of being part of such a trek. This is only the beginning, however, and the end of the book sees the group reaching Fort Kearney in Nebraska. There is still a long way to travel. Mountain Whispers is the next in the series, which presumably sees the train traversing the Colorado Rockies. The date of its publication is currently unknown.
Thank you to Waterbrook Press for my free Advance Reader Copy of Prairie Song. I was not obligated to write a review.
Publisher: Waterbrook Press
Publication Date: 06 August 21013
Page Count: 320