“… his thoughts, when he shares them, are like little shoots of green grass on a dry prairie. The flowers on the prickly pears that grow among the rocks.”
I adore stories of the American Prairie and pioneer times. There is such beauty in the untamed land, passion in indigenous stories and strength in the desire of the pioneers for a better life. Where the Lost Wander provides all of that and more. The May family is complex and entertaining. While they are trying for a better life, they find themselves stuck between tradition and desire.
I, myself, got lost in the descriptions of the land and life within the wagon train. The idea of giving it all up and starting over to remake your life has always been romantic to me. The story is slow and descriptive as it builds toward conflict with the environment, amongst the settlers and with the native people. We see the brutality of life, of conflict between two peoples who don’t understand one another but we also see resilience and strength of spirit, healing and forgiveness, the bonds of love and kinship.
John plays an important role as a man caught between two peoples, he shows the white men that an indigenous person is a human like any other, to be judged by their character and not the color of their skin. Naomi does as well, she first opens her heart to John regardless of his background and throughout shows compassion and understanding to the natives even though they have done her great injustices. There is a lot to be said for seeing both sides and seeing how misunderstandings can lead to violence but that is not what truly is in each side’s hearts.
I loved the author’s note at the end and the fact that she was reimagining her own family history, that made the book even more meaningful to me.
Thanks to Netgalley for an opportunity to read an ARC of this novel. All opinions above are my own.
Do you know any interesting stories from previous centuries of your own family history?