“Where the Trail Ends” by Melanie Dobson

 
A young woman traveling the Oregon Trail in 1842 must rely on a stranger to bring her to safety. But whom can she trust with her heart?

For two thousand miles along the trail to Oregon Country, Samantha Waldron and her family must overcome tremendous challenges to reach the Willamette Valley before winter. Together they weather autumn storms, hunger and thirst, and the dangers of a wild and unfamiliar country. But when their canoe capsizes on the Columbia River, they must rely on handsome British exporter Alexander Clarke to rescue them from the icy water.

Alex escorts Samantha and her young brother, Micah, to Fort Vancouver. There Samantha is overwhelmed with men vying for her affections, but the only one who intrigues her-Alex-is the one she cannot have. When his betrothed arrives unexpectedly from England to escort him home, Samantha becomes determined to create a home for herself and Micah in the fertile valley far away from the fort. But how will an unmarried woman support herself and her brother in the wilderness alone? 
 
Then Micah disappears into the wilderness one rainy night, and Samantha must rely on the man she loves-the man she’s trying desperately to forget-to rescue her brother before it’s too late.
 
This book has changed the way I view the Oregon Trail.  I’ve always been fascinated by history, and by this time period in particular.  As a kid, I read every book I could find on the American West and the westward wagon trains in particular.  Maybe it’s my age – maybe it’s all the games of Oregon Trail I played in computer class as a kid, but I’ll never again think of a wagon train as a romantic or glowing light.  They played an important part in our history, but the people who traveled in this way are not just brave – their stories need to be told and remembered. They are American heroes and should be regarded as such.  
 
Samantha’s story is incredible, and I love how Dobson wove so many real details of real travelers into her tale.  It adds a wonderful ring of authenticity and makes me wonder why so many people willingly went on such a grueling trip.
 
I think that this is a great addition to a study of the Westward Migration.  While it may be a fictionalized version, it definitely makes the difficult choices that the travelers faced hit home in a way that few other books do.  I look forward to reading this with my kids when they’re a bit older.
 
Read more reviews on this blog hop here, or, if it sounds like this is up your alley, you can buy the book here!
 
More About Melanie …
 
Melanie Dobson has written ten contemporary and historical novels including five releases in Summerside’s Love Finds You series. In 2011, two of her releases won Carol Awards: Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa (for historical romance) and The Silent Order (for romantic suspense).

Prior to her writing career, Melanie was the corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family and a publicist for The Family Channel. She later launched her own public relations company and worked in the fields of publicity and journalism for more than fifteen years.
Melanie and her family enjoy their home in the Pacific Northwest. The entire Dobson family loves to travel and hike in both the mountains and along the cliffs above the Pacific.

When Melanie isn’t writing or playing with her family, she enjoys exploring ghost towns and dusty back roads, line dancing, and reading inspirational fiction.

Find out more about Melanie at http://www.melaniedobson.com.

I received a free copy of Where the Trail Ends from LitFuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.
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