It isn’t within man to guide his own steps—or a woman.
Caught between a wagon train and the deep blue sea, Agnes Remington Dalrumple--Remi for short--chooses the overland journey west over crossing the Atlantic with her mother and step-father. Though she’s never been on her own, she decides to go to California and try to find the father she’s never known. Thwarted at every turn, almost every effort is dashed until a widower’s thirteen-year-old daughter intervenes on her behalf. How can the headstrong woman place herself under the responsibility of the young girl’s father, a perfect stranger? But if she doesn’t, her journey ends right there in Saint Joseph, Missouri. On the Oregon/California Trail, will her pride and independence deter her from the destiny God has prepared?
Asher Adams, a widower with two daughters and a desire to start anew has sold everything he owns and is headed to California with his recently wed sister and her husband. She and his girls conspire every step of the way, hoping he will find someone to be a companion and friend. Remi fits the bill as far as all the women in his life are concerned, but is it too soon?
One thing Remi does know for sure, she gets horribly seasick. That fact deters her from sailing the Atlantic in order to tour Europe with her mother and fourth husband, Donovan. Having seen her mother’s many infatuations quickly sour, she’s not about to join her mother’s latest fling. Instead, she decides to take a cross country journey to find her birth father who supposedly resides in California. The trouble is, although she’s received a couple of letters from him, she’s never met the man. Also, money is a problem, that is, until Donovan and her mother generously support her endeavor.
Since no self-respecting female dares to travel alone, Remi engages a bondwoman named Edwina Blaine as a servant and traveling companion. Together the women set out by rail to St. Joseph, Missouri where the plan is to join a wagon train. The difficulty with that is the Wagon Train master has a firm rule, no single women allowed. All women must be married, related to, or under the supervision of a man who is responsible for them. Remi and Edwina have no one until the daughter of a man who signed onto the train volunteers her father, Asher Adams.
Asher’s two daughters take to Remi right away. Patricia Annabelle Adams, aka Patty Cake, 7, takes to Remi right away. She wants her to be her mother. Samantha Edith Adams, aka Sam, turns 13 years old two days before leaving for the Oregon/California trail. She’s lovelorn and pining for a fellow who she knew for only two days named Silas Mercier. Throughout the story, she has a fantasy romance with him via letters and journal. Will he ever write as many letters to her as she has written to him? Does he love her or not?
As for Remi, she falls quickly in love with both girls, but she holds her heart aloof from Asher, even though he carefully and thoughtfully romances her. Remi finds him nice enough, but her mother’s experience with relationships makes her delay involving her heart with anyone until after she’s found her birth father in California. The great question is, will she be able to keep her heart from loving him?
What an interesting and great read this was! This reviewer totally enjoyed this book. In fact, this book is in the running for my all time favorite book written by Caryl McAdoo!