cover image Westering Women

Westering Women

Sandra Dallas. St. Martin’s, $26.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-23966-2

The entertaining latest from Dallas (Some Place to Call Home) focuses on a motley group of women who form a bond traveling to California on the Overland Trail. In 1852 Chicago, Maggie sees a notice posted by a minister offering to lead “moral” women to the western mines of Goosetown in order to find husbands. Having been abused by her husband, Maggie sees the chance for a better life for herself and her four-year-old daughter, Clara. She’s encouraged to join by Mary, a kind and capable woman who becomes one of her closest friends and a leader on the trail. After Mary concocts a story to help her bypass the requirements, Maggie sets off on a taxing journey during which the women are plagued by disease, attacks from Native warriors, and other hardships that bring them together. As trust grows, the others reveal their own agendas for having joined, such as a search for a sibling and a hidden pregnancy. The women learn to shoot, move their wagons through arduous routes, and fight off threats. There’s not much nuance in the way the villains are portrayed, but readers will enjoy this modern take on the journey West that’s rife with girl power. [em](Jan.) [/em]