Grace and her sisters, Hope and Mercy, were traveling to Oregon City with the wagon train to join their Uncle Edward. On the way, measles strikes and Grace decides to stay the winter of 1847 at the Whitman Mission. The epidemic spreads throughout the mission and into the nearby Cayuse village. Things become heated and danger lurks around every corner. Alex, a trapper, is considered a brother to the Nez Perce, but he has little sway in the Cayuse thought. All he wants is to protect Grace, the woman he loves (although he didn't realize it for a while).
This book is a 5 star.
1: For years, I've had a lowkey(as in I enjoy reading about it but don't google it) obsession with the Whitman Mission, especially with Narcissa Whitman. I had hoped that she would have a stronger presence in this book than she wound up having, but it's not like (okay, so if you failed American History, this might be a spoiler for you) she even survived all that long. But seriously though, her husband was not all that great a fellow.
2: Honestly, I could about live off of just Tracie Peterson books. I have a shelf dedicated to her books. This book was no exception, and while I will say that the Yukon/Alaskan Quest trilogies are still my absolute favorite thing, this one may be at the top of my list from now on. I can't wait to see more from this series (Heart of the Frontier). This book just got here yesterday afternoon, and I would have finished it last night had I not had something that I needed to do.
3: I keep getting distracted from writing this review by the book. I keep picking it up, running my hands over it, turning it over and over to capture the beautiful cover. It draws me more than a cover has since, I don't know, In The Shadow Of Denali (Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse... It's amazing and you absolutely have to read it!)
4: While I've never appreciated the way the government treated the Indians, umm... Native Americans is probably a better label but whatever..., in this book I was torn between my sympathy for the Indians and my horror at the heinous acts that took place at the Whitman Mission. I'm not sure what to say. Or think. The history, the research, all of it clearly shows the care.
5: The characters were...heartbreaking. Finding themselves in difficult situations, they not only had to deal with the emotional and physical pain, they had to reconcile themselves spiritually, and the seeing the struggles, feeling them through the vivid writing, was an amazing experience.