Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Book Review: One More River to Cross by Jane Kirkpatrick

About the Book:

Adversity can squelch the human spirit . . . or it can help us discover strength we never knew we had.

In 1844, two years before the Donner Party, the Stephens-Murphy-Townsend company leaves Missouri to be the first wagons into California through the Sierra Nevada. They enjoy a safe journey--until October, when a fierce mountain snowstorm forces difficult decisions.

The party separates in three directions. Some go overland around Lake Tahoe. Others stay to guard the heaviest wagons. The rest of the party, including eight women and seventeen children, huddle in a makeshift cabin at the headwaters of the Yuba River awaiting rescue. The months ahead will be long and at times terrifying. But with friendship, family, and enough courage to overcome their fear, these intrepid pioneers will discover what truly matters in times of trial.

My Thoughts:

One More River to Cross by Jane Kirkpatrick is a stand-alone novel based on historical events surrounding the Stephens company and its journey to California. I appreciate that the author chose to stick to certain happenings, as odd as they seem to today’s readers. While some of these events led to character development and/or relational healing in the book, other events seemed to pass without sufficient time given to dealing with the trauma they must have caused and I wished those events had been more thoroughly addressed.

Much of One More River to Cross is devoted to highlighting the powerlessness of women in that time period and how the women’s mindsets changed. I enjoyed seeing the women find their own reasons to hope and persevere through their severe hardship. They learned to speak up despite oppression from companions and loved ones. They learned to take action when necessary. The themes about powerlessness and gender equality echo into today’s society and are still relevant.

Despite its prose being well-written with its smooth dialogue and vibrant descriptions, I struggled to finish One More River to Cross because I never developed deep interest in the characters. There were just so many of them and the story hopped all around in so many different minds that even when I was a third of the way through the book, I needed to refer to the character list.

If you have enjoyed previous historical fiction novels by Jane Kirkpatrick, you may enjoy One More River to Cross. While it didn’t captivate my attention, long-time fans of Jane Kirkpatrick will likely be interested in her newest release.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

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