I’ve seen this book off and on my social media the last couple of months but I wasn’t entirely sure about it. I mean I grew up playing The Oregon Trail game on the computer (best game ever!) and since I live in Oregon I have studies the Oregon Trail extensively and frontier culture especially for my masters.
But for whatever reason this book just didn’t grab me right away when it came out. But after a few dud books I really wanted to read some thing that I was sure would catch my interest and feel different.
I decided to bite the bullet and download the Audible edition as something to listen to while I ran errands.
The Overland Trail, 1853: Naomi May never expected to be widowed at twenty. Eager to leave her grief behind, she sets off with her family for a life out West. On the trail, she forms an instant connection with John Lowry, a half-Pawnee man straddling two worlds and a stranger in both.
But life in a wagon train is fraught with hardship, fear, and death. Even as John and Naomi are drawn to each other, the trials of the journey and their disparate pasts work to keep them apart. John’s heritage gains them safe passage through hostile territory only to come between them as they seek to build a life together.
When a horrific tragedy strikes, decimating Naomi’s family and separating her from John, the promises they made are all they have left. Ripped apart, they can’t turn back, they can’t go on, and they can’t let go. Both will have to make terrible sacrifices to find each other, save each other, and eventually… make peace with who they are (summary from Goodreads)
During the prologue of this book I almost put down the Audible edition to switch to the physical book instead. While the Audible edition wasn’t terrible, it was a little over dramatic and I really struggled with the narrators at times, however I did listen to the book beginning to end but at times it was a struggle.
But besides that, this book was incredible! There was so much to love here and the book had so much originality to it that I was completely swept up in the story and characters. There were things about it that I felt were a little familiar, for instance it had hints of the film Dances with Wolves and parts of the video game (you have died of cholera!) but overall it has originality and a freshness. I also loved the author’s note about how much of this story is based on a family member.
I was 100% invested John and Naomi’s journey and love story. The historical pieces in the book really added to the love story and made it highly romanticized for me and I absolutely loved it. The story was haunting and it certainly had an epic feel to it. The growth that the characters go through, especially Naomi, is well done and interesting. By the end, I was satisfied with everything and it had the perfect amount of struggle and renewal for both characters.
This was the first book in a while to give me a big big big book hangover. I was so sad when it was over because I was so caught up in all the history, the journey, and the characters themselves. I could easily have read like 400 more pages and not been bored. I absolutely loved this one and have been raving about it to all my friends and family. Even though I have a major book hangover, I couldn’t be happier to have one! This could easily be my favorite read of the year.