When his father and mother die within a few weeks of one another, Will Barlow must decide whether to work the family farm alone, or sell out and travel to California with the Wades, a neighboring family who were forced to abandon their home and land.
Opting to leave Michigan, Will begins his cross-country journey with the Wades and soon discovers the dysfunctional relationship between the mysterious couple and their three children. He also inadvertently becomes an advocate for Mary Wade, abused wife of the tight-lipped and violent Henry Wade.
Joining a wagon train at Kanesville (Council Bluffs) on the Missouri River, they begin their travels west along the Platte River, where Will meets and befriends a number of other westward-bound pioneers. Among them is Rebecca Baldwin, daughter of wealthy Boston judge Thaddeus Baldwin, who has been appointed to a territorial judgeship in California.
After a few rocky meetings, Will and Becky become very close, but continue to be kept apart by a number of factors along the journey. Chief among these is a decision by some members of the party to split from the wagon train and take a short cut west.
Written from Will's point of view, Westward Journey combine elements of literary fiction with the kinds of adventurous installments popularized by 19th century writers such as Mark Twain and Charles Dickens.
It is simultaneously a coming-of-age story, romance, and western adventure.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.86(d)|
About the Author
"Eloquently written, Soennichsen's book is a triumph of reportage reminiscent of McPhee."
John's second book, Bretz's Flood, was published by Sasquatch in October 2008. The book tells the story of a maverick geologist in the 1920s whose radical theories explained the formation of a wildly rugged region of eastern Washington state. The book sold out quickly and was released in paperback in October 2009.
His latest book projects include a history of the Chinese in the western United States during the exclusionary period, for Greenwood Press, Connecticut; and a tour guide book of the channeled scablands for The Mountaineers Books, in Seattle.
John's bachelor's degree in journalism is from the University of Oregon and his master of fine arts in creative writing is from Eastern Washington University. His interests include hiking and photography.
John lives with his family on a five-acre ranch just outside the eastern Washington town of Cheney.
Visit his website at: http://johnsoennichsen.weebly.com/