by Kristen McKendry
312 pagesPublished September 5th 2015 by Covenant Communications
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Adventure is in her blood, so when wealthy eighteen-year-old Rachel Hamilton’s treasure hunting father disappears in the wilderness of British Columbia, she considers only one course of action: she will embark on a quest to find him. But for a well bred woman with little understanding of the world beyond her upper class existence, the harsh realities of the trail quickly become apparent. Woefully unprepared for the hardships of crossing a wild and unsettled continent, Rachel is hungry, lost, and distraught when handsome frontiersman Peter finds her in the middle of nowhere. Taking pity on the downtrodden young woman, Peter promises to escort her to the safety of civilization. Little does he realize he’s taking on a naïve and foolishly brave girl who will test the limits of his patience. But he also discovers the same naïve girl will blossom into a strong, competent, and captivating woman as they undertake an epic journey that will forever alter both their lives.
Rachel, a wealthy young woman, decides to leave her home in Toronto and travel across Canada to find her dad in British Columbia. He left years earlier to prospect for gold and hasn't been heard from for three years. No one wants to take her on, but she finally convinces someone to let her journey with their wagon train. After a lot of hardships, adjusting to trail life and lewd men, she finds herself alone in the wilds of Canada, without a thought of how to survive, until Peter stumbles upon her and takes pity on her. That's when the story really picks up and gets good, although it was interesting prior to that point.
Rachel has secrets and doesn't want anyone to know who she really is and against his better judgment, Peter allows her to travel with him and a young boy, Shorty. They've both got secrets to hide and they all work well together to survive and keep their secrets intact.
I'm a firm believer that anyone can learn life lessons and love a good story that proves that. Rachel is just 18 and has a lot to learn about life, but she's got grit, determination, and the ability to learn quickly on her side. Peter is 31 and even he learned a few things along the way, although he's been around and has a lot of experience in life. The character growth in both of these people is astounding and heartwarming. I loved the people they came across and the way they learned something from them all, taking those lessons to heart. My favorites were Lizzie, a woman crossing Canada with her boys to meet up with her husband who went on before, and Karl, Joanna, and Ed, a farm family, who all completely won my heart.
As for the actual crossing--I don't think I've ever read a story where the characters crossed Canada in pioneer times. I found the setting and situations fascinating and enjoyed the journey, probably much more than the characters did. It was a lot of hard work, but was worth it.
I found myself a little disappointed in Rachel and how she handled things at the end, yet I was satisfied, for the most part. I really grew to love the characters and to empathize with them and their hardships. Great story!
Content: near attacks on a woman; talk of war/fighting, deaths, infection (not graphic); mild romance (non-descriptive kissing, man and woman sleeping by each other, but not with each other, brief mention of prostitutes); very brief mention of religion. Clean!
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