Gabriela

Earl Murray, Author Forge $23.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-312-86515-3
The author of more than 20 historical novels about frontier America (Ghosts of the Old West), Murray captures both the fantastic challenges and the tedious drudgery of pioneer travel. Set in 1846, his latest follows the adventures of Gabriella Hall, a young English woman who has traveled from Lancashire to accompany her fianc , Sir Edward Albert Waterston-Garr III, on a hunting expedition across the Rocky Mountains. Garr has other things on his mind, however, mainly to stem the flow of American emigrants into Oregon, which he perceives as British territory. The story is one of survival of the fittest, as various Indian tribes struggle to protect their lands from encroaching settlers; pioneers lose life and limb to establish homesteads; and mother nature takes her unpredictable course. The silk-gloved Hall fares quite nicely, particularly with the able-bodied and open-minded ""mountain man"" Owen James Quincannon at her side. Quincannon, an independent trapper bent on getting to Oregon on behalf of the American Fur Company, leads Garr's expedition in hopes of keeping an eye on the shady Brit. Along the way, Quincannon encourages Hall's talent as a portrait artist, and the two find love based on mutual respect and admiration. More compelling than Hall and Quincannon's romance, or Garr's evil ways, however, are the often tragic destinies of the supporting characters encountered along the way. An inept, reluctant hunter shoots his own arm off; another man jumps a runaway wagon to save his baby and is sliced in half by a windowpane. Vivid, imaginative descriptions, like that of cherished belongings finally abandoned and strewn along the final leg of an arduous Rockies journey, pepper Murray's novel with wistful, memorable visions. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 05/31/1999
Release date: 06/01/1999
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 320 pages - 978-0-8125-6546-1
Ebook - 978-0-7653-8839-1
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