Westering Women

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 07 Jan 2020

Member Reviews

“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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Rating 3.5 Stars

We are a band of sisters, we all are each other's strength.

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?" The post brought many women at a church meeting in Chicago headed towards California in 1852. Some women were running from someone and some women were running to someone and some were doing both. This women's adventure is centered around Maggie, a dressmaker that is running from her husband with her young daughter Claire. At the meeting Maggie meets Mary a woman never married that takes Maggie under her wing.

During their 2,ooo mile journey, the women learn about each other and what they are made of. They know that not all of them will make it alive but the reward in California is great not to take the risk. With the pursuit of Maggie's husband and another "husband", the trail becomes dangerous without the elements. The women proof themselves to each other and to those that meet with them friendly or foe.

Several women are highlighted with their own story. Some will surprise you and some you will question. I loved the story itself. It amazes me how people made the 2000 mile trek in the elements and thru the mountains. Each with their own story.

A Special Thank you to St. Martin's Press and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.
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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? Do you want to instill God and Civilization and Righteousness in the westernmost part of our country?"

What to do on a rainy day and suffering a 9.0 Richter scale head cold? Snuggle with a book with a simple and entertaining story-line. Sitting in my email inbox that morning, was an offer from St. Martin's Press to read" Westering Women" in exchange for my review; a promising choice. Serendipity.

Being an adventuresome old woman, not necessarily of high moral character, I decided to spent the day traveling with forty-three woman in a train of prairie schooners heading from St. Joe, Missouri to California. The book amused me but I won't say it made me feel like I connected with the characters. As a woman born at a time when my father had to sign for my first credit card, I could relate to many of the misogynistic scenes; there were times I could see where the use of a good war club might serve as an attitude adjuster.

But there is always a place for a good sappy read that tosses out obvious hints and clues well in advance. It doesn't take a genius to see where scolding a bratty child repeatedly be careful while crossing a raging river and being repeatedly ignored might lead to tragedy. Staying with that scene, days later the mother just hitches up her skirt and says ... OH, well. Life goes on. She's with Jesus. I don't have to worry about her anymore.

There was a healthy dose of Christianity sprinkled everywhere like holy water. Not a surprise to the reader as the trip was sponsored and led by two preachers. At the same time, the travelers' faith comforted them and sustained them through, what was surely true in 1850s dash across the continent, soul bending moments.

As expected, not every woman on the journey headed out through hell and high water to get a husband. The twelve or so main characters each have a hidden secret that is revealed in the fullness of time.

There were the inevitable accidentals, cholera death, and clashes with Native Americans. Fragile women escaped brutal husbands and every man they encountered on the journey seemed to want "carnal knowledge" or provide a sound beating to the woman who dared to escape their wrath; justification in my mind to head west to start over leaving bozos behind - but as expected, the bozos just had to track down the women and give them grief; bad move guys. Don't attack a pack of feisty women.

Let it be said that this old gal did raise a hand in salute at the strength and determination of the women to form a cohesive sisterhood; broken women can heal like a broken bone - stronger in the end.

Sandra Dallas fans will enjoy the story. As I said in the beginning, I enjoyed the read. Didn't strain the brain and was an easy read that I never felt I had to just put it down. I will admit to a couple of -"on come on, really?" moments.

Thank the publisher and Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for my review.
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Thanks for the advanced copy of this book. Enjoyed this book very much.  Enjoyed the history behind this story....
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Westering Women opens in Chicago in 1852.  There are notices all over town advertising for single women to join a wagon train to California.  The purpose is for them to find husbands.  Maggie can't go home and seeks shelter in the church where women are being interviewed.  With no other options available to her, she signs on to travel with forty-three other women and two reverends.  What follows is the adventure of a lifetime.  

The women are tested almost every mile of the trip. They developed skills they never had considered. They endured heart breaking losses, harsh weather, almost impossible travel conditions, an Indian attack and so much more. Through it all and as a result they formed a life long bond.  They became a family.

This an emotion packed, exciting and powerful novel. The author is a gifted author.  To have combined, tragedy, loss, sense of family, hope and love so eloquently is a huge accomplishment.  This is one of the best books I have ever read.  Highly recommended.       

I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley and St. Martins.  The opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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Rating:  4.5 stars rounded down to 4 stars

As a big fan of the author, Sandra Dallas, I was so happy to receive an eARC of her latest book.  Once again, she has written a compelling work of historical fiction that I can’t wait to tell my fellow readers about.  I am a sucker for a good wagon trail story so I have read many accounts of the overland trail to the Western territories.  This one ranks right up there with other favorites in the sub-genre.

This story is about a band of women who come together in Chicago in 1852.  They all gathered in answer to a handbill advertising a trip to the California gold fields if they were willing to consider becoming a bride to a miner of their choice.  Maggie answered the call with her 4-year-old daughter.  She joined a troupe of 44 women on the trail.  The two male preachers who organized the trip and some male wagon hands who were hired to help drive the oxen and do the heavy lifting on the trip were also part of the expedition.

The women were from varied backgrounds.  Some women were traveling to escape something, and some were traveling to find something.  Along the way, the band encounters hardships and they form deep friendships.  The travails of the overland route depicted in the book are historically accurate.  As the women take on more responsibilities of the trail, their self-confidence grows.  The friendships formed help them overcome both internal and external challenges.  

I loved the women I met in this book.  They were not without some faults, but they were all fighting forge a better life, and they were willing to take great risks to do that.  I also appreciated that the two male preachers came to appreciate the skills and work ethic of the women as the trip unfolded.  They did not escape being changed by this trip.  

I highly recommend this book to aficionados of Historical Fiction, especially in the sub-genre of US Westward Expansion.  This book accurately portrayed the handicaps that society placed on women in the 1850’s.  They really were second-class citizens.  For many of these women, joining the wagon train was the best way to try to stay safe.  This book was not without some heartbreak.  However, who gets through life unscathed?  I cared about the characters, so I cared about the heartbreak.  This well-written book is another great addition to my collection of Sandra Dallas books.   

‘Thank-You’ to NetGalley; the publisher, St Martin’s Press; and the author, Sandra Dallas for providing a free e-ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I would like to thank the author, St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for providing me with an e-arc of the book.
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The novel begins with an advertisement by two reverends, encouraging women with good Christian morals and fine health, to travel to California in search of a husband. After a crude recruitment process, forty-four eligible women embark on a treacherous 2000-mile journey through the Overland Trail from Chicago to California. The trek begins during February 1852 and is assumed to last for 5 months in oxen-driven wagons.

Albeit what the ad states, most women are not traveling to seek husbands but rather to escape their pasts confronted with abuse and neglect from their boyfriends, husbands, families and employers, their pasts unbeknownst to the reverends. One woman even signs up in the hopes of finding her brother.

The women begin their journey with only hope and a means for an escape; completely oblivious to the hardships and tests they are to face ahead. Throughout the trail, each woman handles the trials and tribulations differently, some better than others.  However in this great adversity, the women together form a sisterhood bond, which then becomes the prevalent theme throughout the rest of the book. Even the two reverends who were prejudiced towards women at first, grow to appreciate the women's dexterity and fortitude.

While the novel had a great storyline, there were few things that bothered me hence my 3.5 stars. First, the hardships faced during the arduous Wild West trek became repetitive, which is to be expected in real life, but was boring in book format. I felt like I was reading the same things over and over. To counter this issue, I do believe Westering Women would actually make a better movie.

Secondly, nearly every male in the book (save for the clergymen) was an abuser, rapist (including child rapist), misogynist etc. The male abuse was too gratuitous that at one point, it almost seemed like an anti-male driven agenda. I love feminist novels but prefer to steer clear from "let's bash all the men" angle. The author does address this issue under Acknowledgements with a somewhat cringeworthy response.

Lastly, there were so many characters in this book and except for two of them (Mary and Maggie), none of them were fleshed out so I did not feel connected with the women, but for the two.  

Nevertheless, if one can move past the triggers and issues I described above, I'd still encourage anyone to read this novel because my criticisms may not be someone else's. As I stated earlier, I think this book will make an excellent Wild West movie with strong female leads. 
3.5 stars

Review submitted January 12, 2020 on Instagram under the handle instagram.com/bookish_catlady_ 
Review submitted January 12, 2020 on Goodreads under the handle goodreads.com/savitrisbooks 
Review submitted January 12, 2020 on Amazon's website as Bookish Catlady
Review submitted January 12, 2020 on Barnes&Noble website as Bookish Catlady
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This grabbed me in the first paragraph and never let go.  Maggie and her daughter Clara join a wagon train of women joining two ministers heading for California to become wives for miners.  Many of the women like Maggie, are more interested in fleeing something than in finding a husband. This is a good old fashioned wagon train story where the women find abilities and strength they didn't know they had, as well as faith in each other that gets them through serious hardship and heartbreak. If you like adventure and strong women, this one's for you.
My copy was an ARC from NetGalley.
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Title:  Westering Women
Author:  Sandra Dallas
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Rating:  3.5 out of 5

In 1852, Maggie has a young daughter who’s been abused and an abusive husband who will kill her if he can find her, so she signs up to join a wagon train to California with 43 other women eager to find husbands. Maggie doesn’t care about the husband part; she just wants to keep her daughter safe. She’s not even sure her own husband is alive—if he’s not, she’s sure to be accused of his murder. 

She soon learns she’s not the only woman in the group with secrets:  Mary, whose family treated her like a slave, just wants freedom, and on the trail her large size is  good thing. One of the women used to be a prostitute. One is also running from an abusive man. One is hiding a secret in plain sight. Throughout the journey the women—and the two minsters accompanying them—must learn how to fend for themselves and become more than who they were.

I loved the premise of Westering Women. I was a bit disappointed in the execution, though. The women’s stories are amazing, but their presence on the page was scattered and fuzzy at best. Even Maggie, supposedly the main character, seemed more like a bit player most of the time. Some of the transitions were very abrupt and came out of nowhere, too (when the men one of the girls was running from showed up randomly). A great historical jaunt, but the writing didn’t do it justice. Judging from other reviews I’ve seen, this is clearly a case of the book just not being a good fit for me.

Sandra Dallas is a New York Times-bestselling author. Westering Women is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.)
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I was not sure if I was going to like Westering Women or not. I soon found out that I was hooked within the first couple of chapters. I could not put it down from then on. Loved it! 
Five stars.
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I couldn’t help but like these women from the get go. The women who took up the opportunity when they read this:

“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?”

Not all of the women, however, were looking for husbands. One was trying to escape an abusive husband who may or may not be alive. One was trying to forge her own way when held by societal views in the 1850’s that women can’t own land even though she did. Another was escaping physical and sexual abuse. These women who were told what there place was, with no one to turn to for help in their circumstances, hoped that leaving for California would be their answer. It’s a rough road for these thirty seven women traveling the hard road, walking. The wagons carried supplies, pulled by oxen, driven by the women who walked. Accompanied by a minister and his wife as well as the wife’s minister brother, they face hardship, death, loss, warrior Native Americans. Anything that could go wrong, of course went wrong, and it felt like a bit much at times and there were times I couldn’t  help but wonder if this was worth it for them, but we are frequently reminded of the reasons why they left Illinois for California, as they encounter their past along the way. 

The loyalty and concern for each other that grew every day they were on the journey was heartfelt. They would lie to protect each other, even the minister’s wife, and they would kill to protect each other if they had to. They became a band of sisters, a family. I became invested in these strong, courageous women of conviction and was moved by their journey for a better life. 

I received an advanced copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press through NetGalley.
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing this book in exchange for an honest review. 
I have enjoyed all of Sandra Dallas's books that I've read and this one is no exception. I've not read westerns before and this was borderline western but also a great historical fiction novel. Thus book is unlike other pioneering books that I've read and it was very enjoyable. The characters were well developed. There was a lot of realistic action and true to life challenges that these women faced.
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What a wonderfully written book of a group of women who formed their own wagon train to head west to California to find husbands who were waiting for them in mining camps.  Of course you can imagine all their trials and sorrows of traveling over the prairies, rivers, mountains, and deserts in a wagon with none of the necessities of everyday life.  Each character had their own story..some sad, sad stories of loss of life, family, and some of expectations of happiness with a new life and a new beginning in California.
#Westering Women
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Sandra Dallas  has written another excellent historical novel.aA novel of women on the Overland trail one woman fleeing her abusive husband  joins this group.Women strong women who bond ,Loved the characters and their stories highly recommend this and all the authors books, #netgalley#st.martinspress
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Travel with a ragtag but respectable group of women from Chicago on their way to California in the late 1880s.  Feel their highs and lows as they experience success and unavoidable failures.

A band of broken women seeking to leave problems behind join together for a trek to California.  Westering Women follows Maggie, Mary, Sadie, Winny and Penn as they transform from weak, unsure women to strong, capable sisters.  Caroline, Joseph, William, Bessie and Evaline have their own secrets and reasons for making the journey.  

The writing makes this book read like history.  The author certainly spent years researching this book.  The characters are like a good cup of coffee, rich and full.  It leaves you wanting much more.  They will get into your heart and stay there.  This story will stay with you long after you close the book.

We need more historical fiction covering the pioneer days of the US and written as well as this one!


I received an ARC from St. Martin Press through NetGalley.  This in no way affects my opinion or rating of this book.  I am voluntarily submitting this review and am under no obligation to do so.
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Absolutely fantastic read. I was captivated by the courage and spirit of these women heading west on a wagon trail.  Fascinating story I can’t recommend highly enough. Thank you netgalley and publisher for this arc in exchange of an honest review.
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Thank you to Netgalley for providing an advance copy for review. What happened to Sandra Dallas, because this is definitely NOT her writing style. Flat characters, predictable story line, and an overabundance of creepy male characters. Very disappointed in this latest by a favorite author, and surprised by all the 5 star reviews. I felt like I was "wagon training" just to get to the last page.
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