Title: Where the Lost Wander by Amy Harmon
Series: Lake Union Publishing
Release Date: April 28, 2020
Format: Kindle Edition (384 Pages)
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Blurb: In this epic and haunting love story set on the Oregon Trail, a family and their unlikely protector find their way through peril, uncertainty, and loss.
The Overland Trail, 1853: Naomi May never expected to be widowed at twenty. Eager to leave her grief behind, she sets off with her family for a life out West. On the trail, she forms an instant connection with John Lowry, a half-Pawnee man straddling two worlds and a stranger in both.
But life in a wagon train is fraught with hardship, fear, and death. Even as John and Naomi are drawn to each other, the trials of the journey and their disparate pasts work to keep them apart. John’s heritage gains them safe passage through hostile territory only to come between them as they seek to build a life together.
When a horrific tragedy strikes, decimating Naomi’s family and separating her from John, the promises they made are all they have left. Ripped apart, they can’t turn back, they can’t go on, and they can’t let go. Both will have to make terrible sacrifices to find each other, save each other, and eventually…make peace with who they are.
Amy Harmon is more than a great writer, she’s an educator too. I always leave her book with more knowledge about a historical event or some really interesting fact that I never knew. This book reminded me a little of the Grapes of Wrath but with a much happier ending.
I loved both Naomi and Lucas as both characters didn’t fit the societal mold for that time period. It made them sort of misfits in their community. When their families set out from Missouri to go out West, their inner mettle was sorely tested. Despite all the trials and tragedy, Naomi and Lucas never lost their inner goodness and selflessness. They remained loyal and steadfast to each other and their loved ones. Naomi was such a strong woman and I feel like her art gave her empathy and insight into others. Lucas was a hardworking and patient man, after all, being of two races made him learn how to endure. They were perfect for each other to navigate the Oregon Trail together as they helped heal each other.
I learned about mules as well as the perils of crossing rivers and dealing with tribes during that period. The author definitely touched on those issues with grace and dignity. It was cool to see how much research and family history she wove into this tale.
The only draw back for me was that this story was slow. It was steady but it didn’t really snag my full attention until the middle. It felt more like a story about survival than a romance, but I guess the love story was even better in that it survived and stayed strong in spite of all the obstacles. I’m not sure I will read this story again and I normally re-read Amy Harmon stories. I do think it was a really good story.