One More River to Cross – Jane Kirkpatrick


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Leaving Missouri behind in hopes of settling in California, the Stephens-Murphy-Townsend wagon train must brave the unknown to find a safe route across the Sierra Nevada in 1844. Simple joys amidst deep deprivation keep spirits lifted, but as winter approaches, divisions begin to fracture the party. The savage conditions of the frigid mountains threaten their survival, and momentum fails as the group and its families are faced with unthinkable choices of sticking together or forging ahead separately. Amidst the division and challenges threatening to drive them further apart, the settlers find new vulnerability in their darkest hours. Kirkpatrick (Everything She Didn’t Say, 2018) tells a harrowing tale based on true events that explores what community meant in the life of a settler, especially the women who were often not given a voice in life-altering decisions. Their journey will teach them new limits and usher in new understandings of identity as wives, caretakers, women, humans. Sibling disagreements, marital stress, faith-based doubts, and fear all bear witness to the gumption, solidarity, and effort vital to the pioneering experience. Kirkpatrick is a commanding innovator of the historical genre with her depth of research and lifelike characters.