Lovisa King was just seventeen in the spring of 1845 when her three generations of her family loaded up the green, canvas covered wagons to make the two thousand mile journey from Missouri to Oregon. Born right in the middle of ten brothers and sisters, Lovisa begins their expedition with dauntless optimism and absolute certainty that the her family's superior preparation, will protect them from any hardships the Overland Trail may present. Even a last minute reassignment to her sister Sarah and "bossy" brother-in-law, Rowland Chambers' wagon can't diminish Lovisa's enthusiasm for the future that lies ahead.
But the road west is cruel and indiscriminate, leaving a trail of fallen party members in its wake. The entire wagon train faces days unanswered thirst, weeks of trekking across the barren plains in blistering heat, and storms of prairie sand so acidic the only remedy is axle grease rubbed into raw skin. As death and disease ravage those she loves, with bone-deep weariness chipping away Lovisa's soul, she begins to wonder if this expedition really has a terminus and when it does, how many Kings will be left standing when it ends.
I'm a huge history buff, especially anything pertaining to the Old West. The problem with a lot of us enamored of these tales though is a tendency to romanticize a time and place full of brutal and harsh realities. Linda Crewe effortlessly sidesteps this trap to capture Lovisa's story as it might have been, opening A HEART FOR ANY FATE a general introduction to the US's great expansion, circumstances leading up to the citizen's migration, and life along the trail itself.
Lovisa and her family are the heart of this story; searching, like so many American's at the time, for a more prosperous fate in a new land. Ms. Crewe did such a wonderful job creating this young woman's voice, I had to continuously reminding myself that I wasn't reading an actual account of her experience; although if the truth be told, I was moved to tears more than once during my reading.
A HEART FOR ANY FATE is a fascinating and moving depiction that immerses the reader into a defining period of American history and definitely shouldn't be missed.
Originally posted at TeensReadToo.com