Alexander Anderson is excited about his brother John's tales of the gold fields in California,
and has decided to sell his farm and go to California to share the mythical gold claim that John
has enticed him with. Caroline Anderson is not so sure. She can foresee a very difficult trip
overland in a wagon with two children, and she holds a grudge against John for his treatment of
her, and the ending of a love affair they had before she married Alexander. She finally agrees on
the move, but with a heavy heart.
This novel has a large cast of compelling characters, and takes the reader on exciting
adventures and disasters ranging from the weather, to cholera and everything else imaginable on
nearly every page. It is gripping and unpredictable. Just when I thought I had it figured out,
there was a new twist in the plot, and then after multiple disasters the unthinkable happens, and
Caroline is all alone in the wilderness of the unexplored American West, having lost everything.
Danger is everywhere; Indians, hunger, animals, fatigue, renegades, and the unrelenting landscape
itself. Her determination to reach California and exact revenge on John is redoubled, but now,
much more difficult.
Ramsey's research has been extensive; the covered wagon trip from Virginia to California, and
the hardships felt realistic, and the descriptions of the continually changing settings were easily
visualized. This is Ramsey's first book, to be followed by the epic
Winds of Change,
a sequel to this exciting adventure. She has definitely found her niche.