Blurb for One More River To Cross:

In 1844, two years before the Donner Party, the Stevens-Murphy company left Missouri to be the first wagons into California through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Mostly Irish Catholics, the party sought religious freedom and education in the mission-dominated land and enjoyed a safe journey–until October, when a heavy snowstorm forced difficult decisions. The first of many for young Mary Sullivan, newlywed Sarah Montgomery, the widow Ellen Murphy, and her pregnant sister-in-law Maolisa.

When the party separates in three directions, each risk losing those they loved and faces the prospect of learning that adversity can destroy or redefine. Two women and four men go overland around Lake Tahoe, three men stay to guard the heaviest wagons–and the rest of the party, including eight women and seventeen children, huddle in a makeshift cabin at the headwaters of the Yuba River waiting for rescue . . . or their deaths.

Award-winning author Jane Kirkpatrick plunges you deep into a landscape of challenge where fear and courage go hand in hand for a story of friendship, family, and hope that will remind you of what truly matters in times of trial.

Review: 5 Stars

I’m a huge Jane Kirkpatrick fan because I love how detailed her historical research is for her novels. She brings true events and real people to life in her books, and she doesn’t shy away from their hardships, disasters, poor decisions, or trials. This particular event was unknown to me, as a Canadian reader, and so I enjoyed the story even more for learning something completely new to me.

I especially enjoyed how Ms. Kirkpatrick centered on the story from the women’s perspective, even though the book has three pages of “characters” listed at the beginning so the reader can keep all the families in order. Women are at the heart of history and yet, little is known about their real struggles or contributions to it. So, taking her research and bringing to life the deadly winter of 1844-45 at the cabin, was spellbinding for me. It was a study in the defiance of the human spirit to survive and overcome. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough!

This story of Mary, Sarah, Beth, and Maolisa will twist your heart and stay with you long after you finish the book. I was glad Ms. Kirkpatrick included Notes at the end which detailed what happened to these people after their ordeal was over, as much as she was able to find. And her Book Club discussion questions are well worth trying this book out for your Club.

I received a review copy through NetGalley and Revell’s Book Blogger program but was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my own.