Cover Image: Westering Women

Westering Women

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Might have been my mood at the time, based on the reviews by others, but ..and I realize it was the thing at the time....There was just too much death and violence in this book for me to enjoy it. I never connected with the characters, and I hit too many spots the book was so slow it was painful.
Please, in this case, take my review with a grain of salt, because while I didn't like it you may.
3 stars
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Historical Fiction. Starts in February 1852 Chicago, Illinois, the journey ends in September 1852 in California. A wagon train was formed to bring brides to men in California. God fearing, moral men, asking for women who were the same. Many women joined the train, for many different reasons. It brought out the best in them, amazed others with their strength and when they made it - they were famous. The journey wasn't easy, and all had their secrets. Many were lost along the way, some turned back. This tells the story of a few of the core of the group. It's very well told, you feel as though you're travelling with them. I've always been fascinated by wagon train stories, have wondered if I would have made it. I'm pretty resourceful, but these ladies paved the way. They were almost all strangers when they started out, but were sisters by the time they survived the trail. There were many hardships that women faced in those days, and unfair treatment by men was accepted at that time. These women proved they didn't need men, and surprised many. Very good read.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
#WesteringWomen #NetGalley #SandraDallas
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I was given an advanced readers’ copy of Westering Women, by Sandra Dallas, in exchange for an honest review. This is one of the most well-written books of fiction I have read in quite a while.

Set in the 1852, it tells the stories of several women who, each for her own reasons, joins an all-female wagon train traveling to the gold fields of California. The original purpose was to provide wives and add a feminine touch to the often crass male population of the goldmining towns.

Some women were running from abusive husbands. One from a hateful family. Another was trying to escape prostitution. Some just wanted an adventure, and they definitely got that.

Not even one of them was prepared for the extreme hardship of life on a wagon train in areas where there were often no roads, only trails. The description of taking the wagons through the Rockies and the Sierras gave me the feeling I was traveling along with them.

What made The Grumpy Book Reviewer grumpy?
Not a thing!  Well, there were several missing commas, and once, a single thought was divided into two sentences with the second one beginning with “and”. Otherwise, it was perfect prose in my eyes.

If you enjoy history, and stories about strong women who support each other when times are tough, you will definitely enjoy Westering Women.
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Westering Women by Sandra Dallas

Brief Summary: 1852; Chicago; Maggie sees an add calling women to journey west to California to find a husband. She is a young seamstress with secrets to hide and nothing lose. She joins an adventurous group of women led by two reverends to make the arduous journey west. This is my first book by Sandra Dallas and it wont be my last. This book flew sadly under the radar on Bookstagram and is the best book(of several I’ve read) on the topic of women going west to find husbands. 

Highlights: This book reminded me of the Oregon Trail Computer game I loved as a child, especially when people got sick or they had to leave their precious belongings behind or they worried about their travel schedule of trying to beat the snow! So tricky! I loved the confidence the women gained. I loved getting to know them and the secrets and lives they were all trying to leave behind. I loved the adventure but hated the heartbreaking decisions they had to keep making. These women are memorable!

Explanation of Rating: 4/5: It totally engaged me and I loved the Oregon Trail like adventure! 

This book would be a great book club pick! Again, it did not get the love and attention it deserved on social media! 

Thank you to Net Galley and St. Martin’s Press for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review
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Chicago 1852

Maggie, along with her young daughter, Clara, is considering joining a group of christian women heading to the gold mines in California in search of a husband.  The group is being organized by two ministers.  

As she tends a meeting where the women are informed about what to expect and how long the trip will take, she watches as other women seem intrigued, but a few leave as it seems too arduous a journey for them.  She meets some other women determined to go and makes good friends.  Some of the women were looking to flee from abusive husbands and didn’t really care to find another one in California.  They just wanted to get away.

When they finally leave, they can only take the barest of necessities with them and they know that they will be walking most of the 2,000 mile journey.  The women take care of one another and share in the daily duties.

Along the way they encounter cholera and Indians who try to steal their belongings.  The trip and the demands put on them to reach their destination brings out the best of them, and it is not without pain, disappointment. and sorrow.  But never second guess the strength of women and especially this band of sisters with their brave determination.

This was a very interesting read and I was amazed at what the women faced all along the way.  The descriptions were well written and the wrap-up at the end of the book was an extra treat.  Don’t miss this wonderful and historic novel.

Copy provided by NetGalley and Goodreads in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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A group of women from varying backgrounds join a wagon train headed to California. The destination is a mining town, and there is a promise of husbands at the end of the journey. More importantly to these women, a chance at new lives and the possibility of happiness. 

Forty=three women set out with a priest, his wife, and the priest’s brother. As the journey progresses and becomes increasingly difficult, some of the women opt to go back. The remaining women learn to work together, learn to defend themselves, to take care of each other, and to survive. 

This is a hard-hitting, but fascinating and enjoyable look at life along the Oregon Trail, and shows how truly remarkable women were who made the harrowing journey. 

Read this if you liked books such as West (Carys Davies), The Hunger (Alma Katsu), the Little House on the Prairie series (Laura Ingalls Wilder), and Whiskey When We’re Dry (John Larison).

Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley.
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Let me start by saying I’m a huge fan of Sandra Dallas and I was so excited to receive an advanced copy of her new novel, Westering Women, from Netgalley. However, upon finishing it, I was a little disappointed. This story reminded me a lot of True Sisters, the first book I read by Sandra Dallas and loved. That is the story of the western migration of the Mormons to Salt Lake City. Westering Women is the western migration of a wagon train of women from Chicago to California during the gold rush. The women, many of whom are leaving abusive situations in Chicago, bond together as they face the dangers on the trail west.
I love Sandra Dallas because I usually learn something from her books that I didn’t know before. Ms. Dallas writes women’s historical fiction and usually depicts historical events involving women that I hadn’t read or known about before. I didn’t really learn anything new during this book, though. The women faced many obstacles during their travels. They had to make many heart-breaking decisions, and they faced a very scary and unknown future. Additionally, there is a scene in chapter 3 that almost made me abandon this book, as it involved the rape of a 4 year old child which wasn’t necessary to the story, in my opinion.
Overall, I enjoyed most of the story, and I gave the rating of 4 stars on Goodreads since they don’t allow half stars and I am a fan of Ms. Dallas. I hope that this book was a one-time misstep and that she continues to tell good, educational stories that shine the light on women’s lives throughout history.
Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the advanced e-copy. #Netgalley #WesteringWomen
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Westering Women is the story of a woman's journey westward in the 1850's along with 43 other women.  This historical novel is a fascinating look at the early days of the West from a female perspective.  Beautifully written by Sandra Dallas!  I recommend it for fans of historical fiction.
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This is an absorbing read, even though the book has some shortcomings. The premise - that 50 women have been recruited to head California via the Overland Trail to find husbands - is itself a bit farfetched, but it works to get the narrative underway and tell a story of female bonding under extreme conditions. The women who are on the trip are not as much interested in finding husbands as getting away from bad situations at home. The characters are all extremes - brutalized, noble, or evil - so there is not a great deal of subtlety. As the author says in her acknowledgements, so many of the men are bad and there is a lot of melodrama.

That being said, I still enjoyed reading this despite its faults. The story of these women undergoing the hardships of the Overland Trail is pretty compelling.
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My thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for an eARC copy of this book to read and review. 

This book sounded interesting, so I requested it from the publisher and they were kind enough to allow me the opportunity to read it before publication.  Unfortunately, this book did not work for me in many ways.  To try to avoid being too wordy, I will bullet-point the main issues I had with this book.

1) The male characters were either Men of God or horrible, opportunistic abusers who got their rocks off on hurting, raping, etc. women and children.  There was no middle ground.  Though the best character growth was the one minister who was married to Caroline.  He started out as a self-righteous prig and he unbent and realized that he was just as human as everyone else.  

2) WAAAAAY too much coincidence with the bad guys from the East being able to afford, survive, follow and find the women who were running from them.  I realize that there were few trails that the women could take, but for more than one different set of men to find more than one woman was really pushing it.  

3) The only ones who died were a woman who wasn't named until the end of the book, two of the most annoying characters who the reader wished would croak and OF COURSE the one person (and animal) that would hurt the worst for the characters and the reader.  Pure manipulation on the writer's part.  And SERIOUSLY, only ONE woman died from disease the ENTIRE trip?!?  And NO.  If ONE person got a contagious disease like that, at LEAST a few others would as well.  And where the HECK did she pick it up where NO ONE else got it too?  Not buying it.

4) That ending was too OTT for me to suspend my disbelief for and honestly?  So was the beginning.  

SPOILERS AND TRIGGER WARNINGS AFTER THIS POINT.

Our MC is abused by her husband, to the point where she is almost killed.  In the scene she relates to her new friend, he had beat her unconscious, then when she came to, he was raping their four year old little girl.  She, rightly so, takes a fire poker to his dome and whacks him a few times.  Instead of a) leaving him there to die while she packed up and ran or b) making SURE he was dead and then fleeing or hiding his body, because it's obvious no one will miss the human shaped walking fecal pile, she c) gets a taxi carriage and brings him TO THE HOSPITAL, because goodness forgive her if he died!  And then she STAYS and doesn't run, until the cops come and say if he dies, she'll be arrested for murder.  

SO MUCH face palm.  

And then, despite months of travel, we don't SEE any of the characters really grow or interact with one another.  The reader is TOLD that the 44 women who are on the trail to go to California to marry the miners out there are SISTERS, but we never SEE it.  It's not believable.  And honestly, if that four year old had been so badly abused and hurt by her father, she would have most likely been terrified of men.  But we NEVER see her interact/act afraid of the men in the group with the women.  After the fact, we get the mom thinking to herself that it took awhile, but Clara warmed up to the two ministers.  WHY WASN'T THIS SHOWN?!?  

I'm sorry, but I wanted so much more from this book.  The bones are there and they are solid.  Good historical setting, interesting premise, but so much wasted opportunity.  

This isn't a bad book, but it's not one that I was rushing to pick up after putting it down for a while.  I pushed myself today to finish it because I wanted to clear it off of my eReader, TBH.  If you like to read about that time period and place, if you like this author's other works, if you don't mind suspending your disbelief to the breaking point, then you will possibly like this one.  My boss loves this author, so it is a book that will be appreciated by readers, just unfortunately, not this one.  1.5 stars, rounded down to 1.  Two stars is "liked it" and I did not.
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This was a great story with romance, suspense and family drama. I really enjoyed reading it and would recommend it to other readers.
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WESTERING WOMEN by Sandra Dallas is a work of historical fiction written by one of my favorite authors. In this latest work, she relates the story of Maggie and Mary, two women who befriend each other and decide to join a wagon train in the 1850's, travelling west as prospective brides. They, like many of the other women on the train, are escaping difficult situations, including spousal abuse, betrayal by men, and families who would not help them. Readers will develop affection for the many characters Dallas introduces, including the two ministers who run the wagon train and women like Dora, Penn, Sadie, and Winny – who with Maggie and Mary learn to set up camp, navigate across the plains, and drive the oxen.  Along the way, they also learn each other's secrets and build a strong emotional bond as they face many physical challenges together, including Indian visits, disease and an unexpected pregnancy, plus swift flowing rivers and a dangerous desert that need to be crossed. As Maggie reflects, "There was no choice.  Either they would work together or they would never make it to the gold diggings." In my opinion, Dallas is at her best when she writes about strong women and the bonds of friendship they develop (look especially for The Persian Pickle Club, Alice's Tulips, or The Diary of Mattie Spencer). 3.5 stars
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Sandra Dallas has written another majestic glimpse into the history of discovering the West.  A group of women join a wagon train headed to California to find spouses in the goldfields.  The experience of life on the trail comes to life as only Sandra Dallas can write.
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I was absolutely mesmerized by this beautifully written and meticulously researched fictional story about a group of single women led by two preachers who agree to travel by ox and wagon from St. Joseph, Missouri on the Overland Trail to the gold mines of Colorado in the spring of 1852. They sign up to undertake a 2,000 mile journey that will challenge them both mentally and physically in ways they never ever could have imagined. Initially the women are intended to be mail order brides but as their individual stories are told many of them just want the opportunity to escape their current circumstances and the pain and persecution brought upon them by drunkards, abusers and unscrupulous relatives since women were considered the property of men in 1852. Their harrowing story is a life and death struggle through abusive climates, difficult topography and the majestic and equally treacherous Rocky and Sierra mountain ranges. Their faith in the Lord and in each other is an all encompassing journey that I will never forget. I read an early copy of this book through NetGalley and all opinions expressed in my voluntary review are completely my own.
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Westering women is about an adventure taken on by a group of women in the gold rush days of the 1850’s.   A Chicago Church has posted an ad looking for good moral women who wish to travel over the Overland Trail to California to find a husband.  Th group of women who sign up for this dangerous and arduous trip are quite diverse.   Some are seeking a husband, some are running away from abusive relationships and others just want a new start.  The main character is Maggie, who is escaping to save her life and that of her child.  There are several other supporting characters that make up this wagon train.  All of them have an interesting story.  The dangers are many and the bonds formed among the women and tight and loving.  There is much heartache, dangers  and loss along the way.  
When I saw that Sandra Dallas was the author,  I did not hesitate to request this book from Netgalley.  I always enjoy her writing  and I was not disappointed.
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Some may call this a dark book.
I've enjoyed all the books I've read by Sandra Dallas.
The story starts out very well but towards the middle really gets bogged down with too much violence and details. This was meant to be a realistic portrayal of forty-three other women and two pious reverends on the dangerous 2,000-mile journey west. 
So much hardship they faced after we become bogged down with details it's saving grace is the nice ending.


Published January 7th 2020 by St. Martin's Press
I was given a complimentary copy. Thank you.
All opinions expressed are my own.
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“If you are an adventuresome young woman of high moral character and fine health, are you willing to travel to California in search of a good husband?  You must be strong enough to withstand the rigors of a 2,000-mile trip. Only good Christian Women with the highest principles need apply.  1852 -Chicago area announcement.”

I’ve just finished Westering Women by Sandra Dallas!  I’ve read many of her early works, and I was happy to be reacquainted with her writing!  Her female centered stories always seem relatable to us in present day. Many characters in this story joined the wagon train not just to find husbands, but traveled west to escape a troubled life behind. The story is full of rich characters and I thought it was a great read! (These pioneering stories always make me happy I was born in this century!)

Thank you to NetGalley and to St. Martins Press for a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

#bookstagram #bibliophile #bookholic #bookshark #bookiehelper #booksparks #bionicbookbabes #netgalley #westeringwomenbook #westeringwomen #sandradallas #californiatrail
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The author did an excellent job bringing this part of history alive.  She told the story of a brave group of women leaving Chicago for various reasons and taking on a long arduous journey across the country to California in the 1850's. As the escaped the life they had in search of a better life and a husband they experienced many hardships and even deaths along the way.  Her characters were full of life and we experience their pain right along with them.  Another great historical fiction book by this author! #WesteringWomen #SandraDallas #NetGalley
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A new tale highlighting a group of women traveling west to become brides for California gold miners. An eclectic group of women leave Chicago in 1852, most trying to escape their past. I found the story to lean heavily on stereotypes to try to create every kind of personality that one might expect in that time.
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I found the story to be very heartwarming and at the same time, sorrowful,with many harrowing struggles that the women must put aside their differences and unite to get through.It's a true tale of the power of friendship, trust, and sisterhood. A wonderful read for lovers of historical fiction! I absolutely loved this book; the characters, and sense of camaraderie and adventure! I have read most of Sandra Dallas's book's and this is by far her BEST WORK YET !
I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest opinion. My thanks to St. Martin's Press and to Sandra Dallas for the opportunity
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