In this epic and haunting love story set on the Oregon Trail, a family and their unlikely protector find their way through peril, uncertainty, and loss.
3.5 The more you love, the more it hurts CROWNS
It has been a long time since I’ve read historical fiction and the blurb for Where the Lost Wander really caught my attention. I have to start by saying, however, that unfortunately the prologue ensured I spent the majority of my time reading with a sense of dread and foreboding as to what lay ahead. I wanted to emerge myself in the story which, in itself is beautifully written, but I found myself wandering ahead in my mind and just plain worrying about the future lives, or not, of these characters I was becoming invested in.
The traditional romance we have come to expect, or recognise, in more contemporary novels is not as apparent here but it does exist in the love felt between Naomi and John. That love, together with caring and affectionate behaviour, was there, just presented in a more subtle way, beyond the physical as befits the time period. The pride these characters have in each other, the respect, is heartwarming. There was family love too, between parents and siblings, so I would definitely call this a love story, in more ways than one. Just don’t go into this expecting a bodice ripper, not that it claims to be one, as it’s far from it.
It’s an understatement to say that life is not easy on the trail. It’s harsh and cruel, often one step forward, two steps back but I had to admire their tenacity and resourcefulness and sheer willpower. Some of the situations they have to endure seem unbearable, yet they have little choice but to do just that. They deal with it by hard work, determination and fortitude. Like the wagon train itself, the pace of the story is quite slow at times and although I imagine it’s realistic in its depiction, there were moments when I wished it would press ahead a little quicker.
In complete contrast, the last twenty percent is action packed and was without doubt my favorite portion of the book. It’s brutal and emotional and there are certain scenes which, although not hugely explicit, leave us in no doubt as to what is occurring. The implications are obvious and despite the lack of graphic detail, it makes an impact nonetheless. Naomi and John’s bond is strong and it is in this part of the book that we see it come alive. We get more of an insight into John’s cultural heritage, albeit not in great depth, and a clearer understanding of his personality too, which I really enjoyed.
On the whole I liked this story, the later parts more than the earlier, due to the slow pace as I mentioned before. One particular stand out moment for me is one scene right at the end of the book, which is beautiful in its simplicity. It gave me goosebumps and brought a lump to my throat. I found it deeply emotional, wonderfully poignant and thought provoking. Overall, I liked the characters and loved the style of writing, and enjoyed what I would describe as a love story wrapped up in an interesting and well researched lesson on the history of The Oregon Trail.
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.
About Amy Harmon
Amy Harmon is a Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and New York Times Bestselling author. Her books have been published in eighteen languages, truly a dream come true for a little country girl from Utah.
Amy Harmon has written thirteen novels, including the USA Today Bestsellers, The Smallest Part, Making Faces, and Running Barefoot, and the #1 Amazon bestselling historical, From Sand and Ash. Her novel, A Different Blue, is a New York Times Bestseller. Her USA Today bestselling fantasy, The Bird and the Sword, was a Goodreads Best Book of 2016 finalist. For updates on upcoming book releases, author posts and more, join Amy at www.authoramyharmon.com.