Monday Book Review: Wagons West series


Independence

Wagons West : Independence

Book Description:

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The road west in 1837 is a long and arduous one, but under the bold and skillfull leadership of wagonmaster Sam Brentwood, it becomes an exciting and rewarding adventure. Independence! is the first of 13 titles in Ross’s “Wagons West” series. It tells the story of courageous men and women who leave their Long Island homes and head west to Missouri. Upon arrival, some of the pioneers, led by Brentwood and a refined New Haven widow named Claudia Humphries, decide to continue onward to unclaimed Oregon Territory. The wagon train, under secret orders from President Jackson to arrive before settlers from England and Russia, attempts to bring the Pacific Northwest under the American flag. The spirited narration by Tom Morgan helps to make the journey a true adventure for listeners. A solid purchase for any public library.
– Gretchen Browne, Rockville Centre P.L., N.Y.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

About the Author

Dana Fuller Ross was the pseudonym of Noel Bertram Gerson. Gerson, a prolific writer, wrote numerous works under many pseudonyms including the White Indian novels, which he wrote as Donald Clayton Porter. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

My Take:

The first book in this multi-book series was bought for me decades ago from a little used book store in a tiny town.  After that first book, I was hooked, going on to read all 34 books in the series. The characters feel like old family friends, you follow them from the first wagon train to populate Oregon and their lives.  There were many authors using the pseudonym “Dana Fuller Ross” but they all kept the themes, plots and style the same.  You actually care about the characters, what happens to them, how they live, love and die.  Normally I have never cared for westerns or romances but this feels like a genre all to itself.  And for me to care about the characters in a setting like this, is quite something.

In this first book, Independence, we meet the first wagon train’s occupants who will be travelling for two years from the east coast to the west coast of the United States, still in it’s infancy. There are trials and tribulations, to be sure, but their guides show them how to survive everything from floods, tornados to ‘indians’. There is a level of writing that I rarely see in any book written formerly or since, that captures the level of intimacy that the Wagons West series does so very well.

I wholeheartedly recommend Independence as well as the rest of the books. I give 5 stars.

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