WESTERING WOMEN by Sandra Dallas
Characters are all important in this book that relates what it might have been like for a group of women, two ministers (who arranged the trip), and a few men (to drive the teams) traveling by wagon across the country from Chicago to the gold fields of California in 1852. The object was to provide the men working the male dominated gold fields with honorable women as brides and co-workers.
The women, their reasons for making the perilous journey, their personalities and their growing sisterhood are the basis for the book. Dallas excels at characterization and the book shines because of her deftness in examining the women through the hardships and dangers of the trip. Maggie, the main character, carries lies, burdens, secrets, and fear with her as do many of the other women. None are prepared for the trek through plains, mountains and deserts as they make their way across the country.
Although the hardships of the journey are made clear, this book is about the women. The epilogue informs us of the resolution for each of the women the reader has come to know intimately.
Book groups will find much to discuss, including answering the questions “Would you have made this trip?” and “Would you have survived?”
5 of 5 stars