Saturday, August 31, 2013

Book Review: Prairie Song by Mona Hodgson

Book Details:
Title: Prairie Song (Hearts Seeking Home Series #1)
Author: Mona Hodgson
2013, Waterbrook Press
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Book Summary:
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?

My Review:
I can’t tell you how excited I was about this book. Although this is the first book in a series, you should definitely start by reading the Quilted Heart Series by the same author. This full-length novel continues the stories of several of the women we met in the short novella’s of the Quilted Heart Series. I would strongly suggest reading them first. I think you could still enjoy Prairie Song by itself, but there is so much background information you would have missed about the characters.

I love novels about this subject. I am very fascinated about the Oregon Trail travelers and this novel did not disappoint. This particular novel is set AFTER the Civil War, which is fairly late in the Oregon Trail westward movement. They have some niceties that earlier travelers didn’t have – although it is still very dangerous. We follow the stories of Anna Goben, traveling with her grandfather and mother who are all trying to start life fresh after Anna’s brother died during the war and Caroline Milburn, who lost her husband in the war, but who is strangely attracted to the trail Captain, a former Confederate soldier. I love that the author also tells the point of view of the men – trail-hand Caleb Reger and Captian Cowlishaw. They have their own stories to tell.

If you are a fan of the American frontier, you will not be disappointed. The characters in this story do not have it easy. There is sickness, wild animals, natives and death. Mona Hodgson is an excellent storyteller and I am great anticipating the next book in the series.

Quilted Heart Novellas - read my reviews
#1 - Dandelions in the Wind Review
#3 -Ripples Along the Shore Review

Disclosure: I received a free e-book copy of this book from Waterbrook Press for my honest review. No other compensation was received and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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