The Light After the War by Anita Abriel

Based on a true, untold story The Light After the War paints a wonderful portrait of two young women, both Holocaust survivors, trying to find love and meaning in the aftermath of WWII.”

Mark Sullivan, bestselling author of Beneath a Scarlet Sky

Anita Abriel was born in Sydney, Australia. She received a BA in English Literature with a minor in Creative Writing from Bard College. She lives in California with her family and is the author of The Light After the War which was inspired by her mother’s story of survival during WWII.

Photo credit: David Perry

The Grateful Reader Review by Dorothy Schwab

“We’ll tell the story to our children, and they’ll tell their children, and no one will ever forget.”

Vera and her best friend, Edith, both from the ghetto in Budapest, survived jumping from a train headed to Auschwitz, and a year hiding/working on a farm in Germany. This is a link to the Author’s Note found on Anita Abriel’s website- Explaining the stories told by her grandmother: http://www.anitaabriel.com/authors-note/

Vera was fluent in five languages, including English, and Edith, a trained seamstress had dreams of becoming a famous fashion designer. The girls managed to travel to Naples, found jobs -Vera at the American Embassy, Edith as a seamstress- and a place to live. Forging ahead into the future – World War II has been over almost a year; readers will travel across oceans and continents with Vera and Edith. As survivors of the Holocaust, a photo of Vera and Edith caught the attention of Samuel Rothschild, New York millionaire & philanthropist. He was quite taken with the young girls’ story and sponsored their trans-Atlantic voyage to America to begin a new life. Very surprising events lead Vera and Edith to Venezuela- to yet another continent, with new friends and different opportunities. Anita Abriel’s descriptions of Naples from a Vespa, the captain’s table on the Queen Elizabeth, and the nerve-wracking wait at Ellis Island, draw the reader into the story; discovering the fear, guilt and heartbreak of being survivors of the Holocaust.

Themes of emerging roles for women, family relationships, and developing empathy play an important part in Anita Abriel’s novel. Samuel Rothschild’s reminder that our “country was built by refugees with big dreams,” opens a wide lens and has great historical relevance for present day readers. The Light After the War is quite a journey; treacherous, true and rewarding. Readers will be inspired and satisfied after the long trip, just like Vera and Edith, who found new lives and a beautiful “light after the war.” GR


The Bluebell Girls by Barbara Josselsohn

The second novel of the Lake Summers Series, The Bluebell Girls, is officially available for Pre-sale on Amazon, https://www.amazon.com/Bluebell-Girls-absolutely-gorgeous-uplifting-ebook/dp/B089SXJYJL/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=the+bluebell+girls&qid=1591726117&sr=8-2

Publication Day is September 25!

Barbara Solomon Josselsohn is the author of The Lilac House and The Last Dreamer. She is also a journalist and magazine writer, whose work appears in the New York Times, Consumers Digest, Parents, American Baby, and Westchester Magazine, and on numerous websites. She lives in Westchester County, New York, and teaches writing at Sarah Lawrence College and privately. She is currently at work on her third novel.

Grateful Reader Review by Dorothy Schwab

“For her, coming back was all about comfort. And family. For him, coming back was about emptiness. And loss.”

Jenna is moving to Lake Summers, nestled in the Adirondack Mountains; back into the house where she’d spent her summer months when she was growing up, and where her mother now lives year-round. She’s moving forward after being in “freefall” from her divorce and ex-husband’s pending engagement, mounting expenses, and the impact of all this on Sophie, her eleven-year-old daughter. Jenna’s return to Lake Summers is filled with memories of adventures spent exploring the trails with friends and grilling and eating on the deck under the trees with her family. But teenage romance is always part of summer at the lake, right? That was certainly true for Jenna. Enter, Troy-Jenna’s first love and first kiss. Mostly sweet memories, except for that Fourth of July, that changed everything. Troy, now returned to take over the Vet Clinic in Lake Summers, is operating mostly out of guilt. Readers will tangle with mixed emotions regarding Troy as he attempts to “untangle” his past.

Jenna’s older sister, Chloe, is loud, assertive, and always sports her “bossy pants!” Chloe is angry at having so little control over Jenna and fearful of what may be happening to “Sweet,” Jenna & Chloe’s mom. Operating out of fear rarely leads to good relationships or decisions. Will Jenna’s decision to move back to Lake Summers destroy or improve the sisterly bond?

Sophie has arrived in Lake Summers ahead of her mom to spend some “quality time” with Sweet, and is completely enthralled with a fascinating, never before told story of her grandmother’s first love. Sophie’s questions and excitement lead Sweet to begin examining her own long, lost memories. The memory that emerges involves a “chip” -which leads Sweet down to the basement and a tumble that lands her in the hospital. Sweet is frustrated with the gaps in her memory and is struggling to recall two very important words to share with Sophie. Readers will appreciate and learn from these two words.

The ups and downs of family dynamics are familiar to readers. In Barbara Josselsohn’s The Bluebell Girls connections are easily made with Sweet, Jenna and Sophie as they each attempt to move their lives forward while in Lake Summers; each “writing a story.” The emotions and attachments to the residents of Lake Summers become a part of the reader’s daily thoughts as the descriptions and dialogue ring heartfelt and so true. Whether it’s the juicy burgers at The Grill, new creations at the Smoothie Dude’s or fresh muffins at Pearl’s Cafe; readers will be welcomed with open arms to take a slow drive down Main Street, gaze at the Victorian-style homes, then settle back in wonder at the twinkling star filled sky over Lake Summers. Thank you, Barbara Josselsohn, for helping readers to understand family members sometimes operate out of fear, guilt, and lack of control; but in the end, love prevails.

Book #2 in The Lake Summers Series, The Bluebell Girls, is a reminder to always treasure memories and family.

The Bluebell Girls earns “Five Bluebell bouquets filled with twinkling stars and lots of love.” GR.


In the Lion’s Den by Barbara Taylor Bradford

“Barbara Taylor Bradford OBE was born and raised in England. She left school at 15 for the typing pool at the Yorkshire Evening Post. At 16 she was a reporter, and at 18 she became the paper’s first woman’s page editor. Two years later, aged 20, she moved to London and became a fashion editor and columnist on Fleet Street. Barbara started writing fiction when she was just seven-years-old and sold her first short story to a magazine for seven shillings and sixpence when she was ten. She published her first novel, A Woman of Substance, in 1979. It went from bestseller to super seller within its first year and stayed on the New York Times’ list for 43 weeks. Barbara has had 34 books published, all worldwide bestsellers, and her latest, In the Lion’s Den, is coming October, 2020. Ten of her books have been produced as TV films or drama series by her late movie producer husband Bob Bradford and actors including Liam Neeson, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Jenny Seagrove, Deborah Kerr, Sir John Mills and Elizabeth Hurley. Today, Barbara Taylor Bradford is published in over 90 countries in 40 languages, with sales figures in excess of 90 million. ”

Here’s a link to a wonderful interview with BTB on the launch of The House of Falconer: Book One: Master of His Fate-https://youtu.be/H6XV9hY-X-M

The Grateful Reader Review: by Dorothy Schwab

“James Lionel Falconer has risen quickly from a mere shop worker to being the right-hand man of Henry Malvern, head of the most prestigious shipping company in London. With Malvern’s daughter Alexis running away to the country after a terrible tragedy and refusing to return, James’ ascent to head of the company seems inevitable. But even a charmed life like James’ is not without its setbacks.”

Barbara Taylor Bradford fans have been anticipating the newest developments in the life of James Falconer, the brilliant young man that was the focus of Book One-Master of His Fate. Book Two in the House of Falconer series arrives here in the U.S on October 6, 2020. The wait for In The Lion’s Den has been similar to the anticipation for the next season of Downton Abbey a few years ago or now, season 4 of The Crown! Not to worry. All the events and characters from Book One are tied together quite nicely in Book Two. Readers will be relieved to see a quick review of the cast of characters; always appreciated when there are several family histories to track. BTB uses her typical finesse as she weaves the lives of the Lords and Ladies with the housekeepers and butlers, and all the offspring from past generations. Fans of the grand homes of the English countryside will take deep breaths and sigh at the descriptions; from the soaring ceilings in entryways to the sweeping vistas seen from the library windows. Just sink into the velvet cushioned sofas and imagine the delicious aromas drifting from the kitchens, as footman and waiters deliver covered platters of poached salmon and dressed crab topped with sprigs of parsley. With closed eyes, listen as the white wine is poured into the crystal goblets and chilled water into the silver beakers. Yes, please.

James Falconer is “charismatic, with a natural, persuasive charm and perfect manners.” He has brilliant business acumen to share with Henry Malvern, the ailing tycoon of London’s shipyards, docks, and warehouses. Mr. Malvern’s heir, Alexis, is not particularly interested in her father’s business and is dealing with her own bouts of depression; even being treated by the much talked about, Dr. Sigmund Freud. Throw in some really British bits: Uncle George from the Chronicle and his reports on the Prince of Wales and Queen Victoria from Balmoral, quick meet ups at the Pig & Whistle with Detective Crawford, and dining on borscht and chicken Kiev with Irina, a descendant of a Russian ambassador. All this along with the reboot of the wine division and the building of the “arcade” in Hull, and James Falconer figures he has his future planned in detail; written out and locked in the desk drawer, ready to put into action.

James Falconer has his parents’ support, the trust of Henry Malvern, and a “posse” of colleagues to listen or advise him. What could possibly keep him awake at night? His strategy is reflection and analysis. There really is so much to learn from the 21 year-old James Falconer. Oh, and by the way, his hobby is READING!

Relish and enjoy Book Two-In the Lion’s Den. GR

Here’s an added bonus: The Stately Homes I Love; an article written by BTB this past August. https://barbarataylorbradford.com/the-stately-homes-i-love/


Essie’s Roses by Michelle Muriel

“Michelle Muriel is the award-winning, bestselling author of the #1 Amazon historical fiction bestseller ESSIE’S ROSES and her new novel Amazon bestseller, WATER LILY DANCE. Water Lily Dance follows the lives and secrets of three brave women, centuries apart, connected by French Impressionist artist Claude Monet. Michelle holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts, magna cum laude, and worked as a professional actress, a member of Actors’ Equity and The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists for twenty years, doing theater, voice-over, and commercial work. Michelle transferred her skills in complex character development and historical research into writing heartbreaking, heart-mending historical, literary fiction. Her novels poetically explore the secret sides of life, stories told from multiple points of view by strong female characters in history harboring secrets and breaking norms fighting for freedom. She is also a songwriter and musician. Michelle lives in Missouri with her husband, Michael.To learn more about Michelle and her books, visit the author’s website: www.MichelleMuriel.com.”

Grateful Reader Review by Dorothy Schwab

“While Evie was growing up behind the windows of the big house, I was too, behind the windows of a slave’s cabin.” This is the story of two girls, Evie and Essie, confessing to each other as they lie side by side on a hillside; their dream is the same: To Be Free.

Amidst the vast cotton fields and flowers in Alabama, 1841, was nestled a small plantation named Westland. The land was inherited by the impossibly beautiful Miss Katie, now married to the corrupted, evil John Winthrop; the two have a daughter, intimidatingly, blonde and equally beautiful, Evie. The Winthrops live in the big house; along with house slave, lovable, pumpkin bellied, full of scripture and wisdom, Delly. Add the daily visits of young Essie from the slave cabins, to fill in the dynamic days at Westland. Michelle Muriel has “birthed” a family for readers to adopt as Evie and Essie grow up among Miss Katie’s roses and their favorite hillside on the plantation.

Evie, with nature’s help, teaches Essie to listen to her heart and DREAM: “The thing you most want to happen in your life. Right now. Someday. Only you know. Listen.” The ties that bind Evie and Essie are tested over and over, as they grow from sharing “giggles and gossip” into mature young women with dreams of their own “to do.” Will the ties of love and friendship shared between these two girls be broken? Will they be delivered from their own personal, living nightmares?

Michelle Muriel’s dialogue and descriptions will sweep readers away as the saga of Essie’s Roses unfolds from 1841-1865. Pearls of wisdom, inside jokes and humor, along with nightmares and secrets, will cast a spell that can only be broken by the fragrance of Essie’s roses drifting over the hillside as the last page turns. Oh, to wish for just one more day with Evie and Essie.

Meanwhile, hold tight to Evie and Essie’s prayer:

“Lord keep us safe. To run the race.

Faster still, though all uphill.

Keep us strong when we’re afraid.

Guide us home today we pray.

Hold our dreams inside Your hands.

Help us do the dreams You planned.

Amen. ”

Wishes do come true! The lovely Michelle Muriel is gifting devoted readers with the sequel, WESTLAND- COMING SOON!


Jackie and Maria by Gill Paul

http://gillpaul.com/ Available NOW!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aduTHQkmYC8 A great interview; the author discusses her novels The Lost Daughter and Jackie and Maria

The Grateful Reader Review by Dorothy Schwab

This novel of Jackie Kennedy, the most famous First Lady in American history paired with the world-famous opera singer, Maria Callas, will snap readers right up and create chaos with emotions. Gill Paul parallels the public spectacle and heartbreak of Jackie’s marriage woes and her grieving process in front of the entire nation with the rise and fall of Maria Callas’ opera career and marriage to her manager. Enter- Aristotle Onassis! As Americans watched this whole “affair” play out publicly, in every form of the press, there are certain assumptions that were made. Readers will now question the actions of the First Lady and Maria Callas as they each endured tragedy and found ways to survive the media’s interruption and interpretation of their personal lives. This phenomenon is nothing new with the current media situation in 2020. Readers may feel a deep connection to Jackie, as many lived the days of Jack Kennedy’s presidency, assassination and the aftermath. Gill Paul creates the idyllic world readers have always imagined – the “Camelot” that Jackie herself coined-and then crushes those images with vivid descriptions and accounts. From the White House to La Traviata in Dallas, to Milan and private islands, readers will be whisked away in limousines and yachts to a world most will only read about. So pour a glass of champagne, don your big, black sunglasses, find a chaise on the deck of the Christina then hide behind Jackie and Maria for a private tour of the world of Jackie, Maria, and Aristotle Onassis.


The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis

In nationally bestselling author Fiona Davis’s latest historical novel, a series of book thefts roils the iconic New York Public Library, leaving two generations of strong-willed women to pick up the pieces.AVAILABLE TUESDAY, AUGUST 4, 2020

Fiona Davis is the nationally bestselling author of five novels, including The Dollhouse, The Address, and The Lions of Fifth Avenue. She lives in New York City and is a graduate of the College of William & Mary in Virginia and the Columbia Journalism School.

The Grateful Reader Review by Dorothy Schwab

“It’s 1913, and on the surface, Laura Lyons couldn’t ask for more out of life—her husband is the superintendent of the New York Public Library, allowing their family to live in an apartment within the grand building, and they are blessed with two children.”

Flash forward: ” Eighty years later, in 1993, Sadie Donovan struggles with the legacy of her grandmother, the famous essayist Laura Lyons, especially after she’s wrangled her dream job as a curator at the New York Public Library.”

EXPLORING: PERSONALLY Laura and Sadie are forced to examine their own beliefs, goals and values. One would think at eighty years apart these would be vastly different, but are they really?

EXPLORING: EMOTIONALLY-Laura must sort out her feelings and devotion to her mother, her husband and her children. Sadie is musing over her past relationships along with her obsession with her curator’s job. Lots of self examination takes place for both women.

EXPLORING: SOCIALLYFor Laura, suffrage, women’s rights and birth control are new topics to learn about in the early years of the century. She discovers a bohemian group involved in speaking out and even protesting current laws & rulings. Should she join? What will her family think? These topics are not so different for Sadie, even in the late part of the twentieth century.

EXPLORING: PHYSICALLY From the steps of the New York Public Library and the powerful statues of Patience and Fortitude, readers will gape in awe at the intricate descriptions of the building’s architectural designs; tunnels, elevators, private apartments, and of course, the Berg Collection.

As Laura Lyons is aspiring to be a writer at Columbia Journalism School she becomes involved in a mystery that “threatens her home and the library.” In the dual timeline so expertly woven by Fiona Davis, eighty years later Sadie’s job as curator is in jeopardy as rare manuscripts, books and notes begin disappearing!! This is on the cusp of preparations for the opening of the Berg Collection Exhibition. Is the thief on the inside or outside?

Readers, along with a private security expert, will be quickly ( but shhh….quietly!) turning pages deep into the night as clues to the mysteries are methodically revealed. THE LIONS OF FIFTH AVENUE and a trip to the New York Public Library for EXPLORING is “on hold” for readers everywhere. Five ***** to the Lions, the Librarians, and Fiona Davis. GR

The Library Lions

Patience and Fortitude, the world-renowned pair of marble lions that stand proudly before the majestic Beaux-Arts building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street in Manhattan, have captured the imagination and affection of New Yorkers and visitors from all over the world since the Library was dedicated on May 23, 1911. https://www.nypl.org/help/about-nypl/library-lions


Across the Winding River by Aimie K. Runyan

Available August 1, 2020

“Aimie K. Runyan writes to celebrate history’s unsung heroines. She is the author of historical novels: Promised to the Crown, Duty to the Crown, Daughters of the Night Sky, and Girls on the Line. She is active as an educator and speaker in the writing community and beyond. She lives in Colorado with her wonderful husband and two (usually) adorable children.”

Grateful Reader Review by Dorothy Schwab

“A woman unlocks the mystery of her father’s wartime past in a moving novel about secrets, sacrifice, and the power of love…”

Across the Winding River follows the “hearts and minds” of Max, a young American soldier during WWll; Beth, his daughter’s search for clues to a long, lost secret sibling, and Johanna, the brilliant German test pilot in the Luftwaffe for the Nazi’s. All three walk a delicate line between memories and truth.

Readers will identify with Beth, a modern-day woman grieving the loss of her mother and also beginning to recognize and accept herself-recently divorced and adjusting to a new social standing. Beth’s father, Max, is living out his last days in a private care facility while Beth is doing all she can to organize his affairs while sorting out his memorabilia and learning about his war- time experiences. The author chooses to focus on Max and his medic experiences in a lesser known battle that raged for three months in Hurtgen Forest, known as the Death Factory, rather than the D-Day beaches of Normandy. The descriptions and details of the area and the lengthy battle with no clear victor, is a different perspective of the war. The third bend in the “winding river” is Johanna and the role she plays in living out her own mathmatical dreams as she finds it more and more difficult to hide her Jewish ancestry, while actually working for the Nazi’s in order to survive and avoid the concentration camps.

The lives of Beth, Max, and Johanna intersect in some twists and turns in the river; all to reveal powerful lessons in the sacrifices that have been made, and to uncover surprising secrets of love and loss.

Readers who choose Across the Winding River by Aimie K. Runyan will come to “champion amd adore” Max’s story.

The Battle of Hürtgen Forest was a series of fierce battles fought from 19 September to 16 December 1944, between American and German forces on the Western Front during World War II, in the Hürtgen Forest, a 140 km² area about 5 km east of the Belgian–German border.

New Orleans, Louisiana: The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American experience in the war that changed the world—why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today—so that all generations will understand the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn. https://www.nationalww2museum.org/


How Lulu Lost Her Mind by Rachel Gibson

From New York Times bestselling author Rachel Gibson comes the story of a mother-daughter journey to rediscover the past before it disappears forever.

Rachel Gibson is a New York times and USAToday bestselling author of 21 books.

Grateful Reader Review by Dorothy Schwab

Lou Ann, a.k.a The Love Guru, has built her “brand” and thriving business from a highrise in Seattle. She travels IRL and virtually, spouting relationship advice to thousands of followers. In fact, she’s in the middle of her ten-city Find True Love in February tour! Now her mother, Patricia, age 74, diagnosed with Alzheimers four years ago, has been tossed out of the third care facility and is requesting to spend her last days at the family home near New Orleans. Lou Ann begrudgingly takes Patricia to Sutton Hall, an old sugar cane plantation that comes with its own “To Do” list. Packing for speaking engagements and book signings is not exactly the same as packing for south Louisiana; heat, humidity, possible alligators, a century old cemetery and a crazy bird named Raphael, soon take the place of fame, fanfare & fortune!

Lulu experiences the culture shock of moving across country to a locale of unfamiliar culture and landscape- swamps & bayous; not to mention dealing with the mood swings of Patricia as they both begin to deal with how these last days together would unfold for each of them. Lulu relies on meditating and Patricia gets caught up in TV game shows. Finding common ground and a good mattress turn out to be crucial! Lulu is grappling with saving her business or spending the last days making her mother happy- something many readers may know first-hand or have experienced vicariously. Either way, juggling family, business & volunteer commitments, are always a struggle as ill or aging parents take precedence in our lives. Rachel Gibson deals with the emotional struggles of such a life changing situation with honesty and laugh out loud humor.

How Lulu Lost Her Mind is a magnified view into the dynamic day to day battle of thoughts and emotions that emerge in times of crisis, but also the self analysis & reflection involved. Gibson juggles Lulu’s emotional episodes with Patricia by wrapping the “daily dilemas” in Cajun dialect and taking readers to local shops like Rouse’s market, Monique’s Chic Boutique, and Boots ‘N Roots! Readers will savor the poignant moments of mother-daughter time; and “laugh to keep from crying,” when those heart felt tensions ring so true.


The Paris Secret by Natasha Lester

Natasha Lester is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of historical fiction.

Her new novel THE PARIS SECRET is out now in Australia and will be published in the US and the UK later in 2020. Her other books, THE FRENCH PHOTOGRAPHER / THE PARIS ORPHAN, THE PARIS SEAMSTRESS, A KISS FROM MR FITZGERALD and HER MOTHER’S SECRET are also available from all good bookshops.

Coming September 2020

The Paris Secret

A wardrobe of Dior gowns, a secret kept for sixty-five years, and the three women bound forever by war … from the New York Times bestselling author of The French Photographer
England, 1939: Talented pilot Skye Penrose joins the war effort where she encounters her estranged sister, Liberty, and childhood soulmate Nicholas Crawford, now engaged to enigmatic Frenchwoman Margaux Jourdan. Paris, 1947: Designer Christian Dior unveils his extravagant first collection to a world weary of war and grief. He names his debut fragrance, Miss Dior, in tribute to his sister, Catherine, who worked for the French Resistance. Present day: Australian fashion conservator Kat Jourdan discovers a secret wardrobe filled with priceless Dior gowns in her grandmother’s vacant cottage. As she delves into the mystery, Kat begins to doubt everything she thought she knew about her beloved grandmother.An unspeakable betrayal will entwine all of their fates. The Paris Secret is an unforgettable story about the lengths people go to protect one another, and a love that, despite everything, lasts a lifetime.

The Grateful Reader Review by Dorothy Schwab

Captivating characters. Breathtaking, emotional relationships developed in the innocence of childhood and others wrapped in the arms of a devastating war. The novel opens in Cornwall, England in 1928, with young, adventurous Skye and sister “in the house” Liberty, more often than not, at odds with each other, kicking and fighting! Their mother, Vanessa Penrose, with a devil-may-care attitude, is loved by both girls. Vanessa is a pioneer in her own right and loves to fly-even trying to set records. Readers are buoyed along the beaches of Porthleven with Skye and her friend, Nicholas; collecting cowrie shells, floating in caves or exploring lost gardens finding adventures on rope bridges! All simply exhilarating until the idyllic childhood ends and Skye & Liberty – following Vanessa’s footsteps, are sunk into the quagmire of women becoming pilots and clawing through the red tape of the WAAF-Women’s Auxiliary Air Force and the SOE-Special Operations Executive. This triple timeline moves from England, 1939 to Paris, 1947 and the unveiling of Christian Dior’s first collection. The world has known and admired Dior’s designs and creativity for decades; but his sister, Catherine, is the real heroine of the French Resistance. Catherine is superbly intertwined with Skye and Liberty as the war’s scarring memories have a life long impact on the sisters- and eventually, Kat Jourdan, a granddaughter. Natasha Lester brings the family saga full circle as present day, Kat, a fashion conservator, discovers a priceless collection of 65 Christian Dior dresses in a cottage in Cornwall. Readers will appreciate the depth of research into the WAAF, the Resistance, and struggles of the female pilots to actually fly and make a difference in the war. Natasha Lester’s background in fashion really shines through in her descriptions of the Dior gowns as Kat begins to wear them for meetings and rendezvous!

Plot “pattern pieces:” Dior gowns, sisters at odds, concentration camps, stolen identities, most of all a love story spanning decades. These pattern pieces are designed and stitched together to create a dream novel worthy of a Dior tag and definitely one for your collection!


Where the Lost Wander by Amy Harmon

In this epic and haunting love story set on the Oregon Trail, a family and their unlikely protector find their way through peril, uncertainty, and loss.

“Amy Harmon is a Wall Street JournalUSA Today, and New York Times Bestselling author. Amy knew at an early age that writing was something she wanted to do, and she divided her time between writing songs and stories as she grew. Having grown up in the middle of wheat fields without a television, with only her books and her siblings to entertain her, she developed a strong sense of what made a good story. Her books are now being published in seventeen different languages, truly a dream come true for a little country girl from Levan, Utah.”

“The Overland Trail, 1853: Naomi May never expected to be widowed at twenty. Eager to leave her grief behind, she sets off with her family for a life out West. On the trail, she forms an instant connection with John Lowry, a half-Pawnee man straddling two worlds and a stranger in both.

But life in a wagon train is fraught with hardship, fear, and death. Even as John and Naomi are drawn to each other, the trials of the journey and their disparate pasts work to keep them apart. John’s heritage gains them safe passage through hostile territory only to come between them as they seek to build a life together.”

Grateful Reader Review by Dorothy Schwab

“Wagons Ho!” That was the cry of the wagon master at the “jumping off place” for the brave families heading West to Oregon or California. Two thousand miles-with all their cherished and necessary items loaded into wagons, followed by herds of cattle and horses. The unimaginable quest of finding gold, land for the taking, or the adventure is what prompted the Pioneers to leave home and loved ones; to embark on such a wondrous, but treacherous journey.

Map provided by Amy Harmon https://www.authoramyharmon.com/wherethelostwander.html

For 20 years a map very similar to this was provided by the Grateful Reader for third graders as a similar novel for children was read; Bound for Oregon by Jean Van Leeuwen. All the chats by firelight between husbands & wives, and other parents, after the children were in bed, led to the pros and cons of “if and when” to leave on this journey into the unknown. A few had traveled to Oregon and California and returned, and were now available as guides or had written guide books for purchase. Diaries written by adults are accessible but accounts by children are rare. In the case of Amy Harmon’s Where the Lost Wander, her research and genealogy studies give her great family insights into the personalities and possible lives of Naomi May and John Lowry. Check out her website for a great Q&A on the blog. Where the Lost Wander is an adventure, mystery, and love story-but for older teens and adults.

Readers will be in anguish at times, and experience pure delight at others. With every crossing of the Platte and landmarks passed, “travelers on the trail” with Naomi May, her brothers, Wyatt, Will and Web and John Lowry and his mules, will celebrate each mile closer to the destination. Naomi’s mother, Mrs. May, is a brave, proud woman; a font of wisdom and understanding. In a poignant conversation she shares with John, ” The hardest thing about life is knowing what matters and what doesn’t. If nothing matters , then there’s no point. If everything matters, there’s no purpose. The trick is to find firm ground between the two ways of being.”

Traumas along the trail: Cholera, orphaned children, Indian attacks; all add to the stress and emotional turmoil for the families and the reader! But the celebrations of new life, new love, and weddings makes up for it. John’s mother, Jennie, said it best:

A Mother’s Wisdom

In order to travel West decisions had to be made as to what was necessary for survival-physical and emotional. The only decision at this point is to “load your wagon, put on your hat or bonnet”, and read Where the Lost Wander. Destinations and Celebrations are in sight!

Where the Lost Wander earns all the stars in the big prairie sky!

Once Upon a Book Club Box-Open gifts as you read! Use Gratefulreader10 as a promo code when you subscribe! https://www.onceuponabookclub.com/