What I Loved:
This was a beautiful story that I loved reading. The overarching idea behind this story was to show the hardships of traveling west for people in the 1800s. I was completely drawn into Where the Lost Wander from beginning to end by the descriptions of the travel and the people. I loved every single page of this story.
How I Felt:
Amy Harmon has quickly become one of my favorite authors! Her ability to write so many different types of stories leaves me speechless each time I finish a book. This is my favorite book she has written, however, I have enjoyed every book I have read, and I can’t wait to read more!
I’m going to start my review a little backward today because there is something at the end of the book I wish I would have known when I started the story! Amy Harmon provided an author’s note at the end of the book that was fascinating to read. She discusses that John Lowry, the male main character, is actually an ancestor of her husband’s. The family that the story follows out West are the May’s, who were Harmon’s own pioneer ancestors. In addition, many of the other characters like Lost Woman, Chief Washakie, and Chief Pocatello were real people. I started this book thinking it was historical fiction where the “historical” came from the overall event of westward migration. I would have loved to have known how much of this was founded in actual history when I started, so I wanted to share that with you!
The writing created this entire world for me. I felt completely submerged in the 1800s. There are a lot of things about living in that time that get glossed over in books, but I felt that Amy Harmon took time to detail the hardships of living that made the story real for the reader.
The story brought the game Oregon Trail to life for me. Do you remember playing that game? It would notify you that an ox died or your raft flipped and everyone drowned…Game Over. Where the Lost Wander was the story of one wagon train making this treacherous journey out West in search of a better life. Things that happened in the game Oregon Trail became so real to me through this book! An ox died and life didn’t just move on. Crossing a river could be an easy task, or take an entire day with the fear of losing everything. I enjoyed how carefully Amy Harmon pieced together the travel for these characters, making sure the reader was provided all the details to understand how difficult it really was.
The characters were easy to love in their own special ways. John, Two Feet, is half American Indian and half Caucasian. He struggles to fit into each world in different ways. He has an enormous heart and I couldn’t help loving him. Naomi was this beautiful person with such a caring and special personality. An artist, her talents are used throughout the story and added an interesting dimension.
The Native American characters were written about in a balanced, beautiful way. I felt like I was given the realities of the struggle between the Native Americans and the settlers for trade, food, language barriers, and misunderstandings. Lost Woman was one of my favorite characters and she barely speaks. She, however, has such a strong presence, and I loved her.
Overall: This story opened my eyes to the hardships of western travel for people. I loved the entire story from the characters to the descriptions of people and places, to the relationships, and the events. A beautiful book that makes me want to continue to read Amy Harmon’s work.
To Read or Not To Read:
I would recommend Where the Lost Wander to any historical fiction fans that enjoy a story of people in history as this book focuses on a family traveling West and the situations they come across on their journey.
Where to Find This Book:
Where the Lost Wander by Amy Harmon is available at these sites.
If you haven’t yet read any books by Amy Harmon yet, here are the list of books by her that I have already read and recommend!
The First Girl Child by Amy Harmon
From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon
What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon
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.
Just the Facts:
- Where the Lost Wander by Amy Harmon
- Genre: Historical Fiction
- Page Count: 347 pages
- Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
- Pub Date: April 28, 2020
I was provided an advanced reader’s copy of this book for free. I am leaving my review voluntarily.