Where the Lost Wander Book Cover Where the Lost Wander
Amy Harmon
American Historical Romance
Lake Union Publishing
April 28, 2020

In this epic and haunting love story set on the Oregon Trail, a family and their unlikely protector find their way through peril, uncertainty, and loss.

The Overland Trail, 1853: Naomi May never expected to be widowed at twenty. Eager to leave her grief behind, she sets off with her family for a life out West. On the trail, she forms an instant connection with John Lowry, a half-Pawnee man straddling two worlds and a stranger in both.

But life in a wagon train is fraught with hardship, fear, and death. Even as John and Naomi are drawn to each other, the trials of the journey and their disparate pasts work to keep them apart. John’s heritage gains them safe passage through hostile territory only to come between them as they seek to build a life together.

When a horrific tragedy strikes, decimating Naomi’s family and separating her from John, the promises they made are all they have left. Ripped apart, they can’t turn back, they can’t go on, and they can’t let go. Both will have to make terrible sacrifices to find each other, save each other, and eventually…make peace with who they are.

The Pain. It’s Worth it.

I don’t remember what grade we learned about the Oregon Trail in school but Where the Lost Wander by Amy Harmon was a nostalgia drop-kick to the face that made me desperate to find an old MAC computer. Historical Fiction/Romance is not normally my chosen genre but I knew that if Amy Harmon was writing it there was no doubt it was going to rock my world, and I was not wrong. 

Naomi is a young widow at 20 years old and sets out on the trail west  with her family, and the family of her late husband. She has great pride in helping her parents care for her siblings, but also feels an obligation to maintain a relationship with her in-laws despite her yearning to move on. 

John Lowry is a half Pawnee man who has particular set of skills that makes him the perfect choice to guide the wagon train to their new home.  John hopes that helping the wagon train to California will be the opportunity he needs to make a name for himself out from under the shadow of the circumstances of his birth.  With such a division between the two worlds of his heritage he finds himself lost and looking for his place. “One white foot, one Pawnee foot, but I am not split down the middle, straddling two worlds. I am simply a stranger in both.” 

“So you be real careful about who you hate.”

There is a connection between Naomi and John that both are hesitant to act upon. Naomi is scared to upset her late husbands family, and despite his high standing within the wagon train he doubts he will he accepted as an proper match for Naomi with his Pawnee heritage and lack of means to provide for her. The story between Naomi and John was a sweet slow burn that needed to build. Naomi needed to know it was OK, and John needed to understand his worth, not just as her provider but as her partner. 

Love story aside this was an amazingly well researched tale about the trials and tribulations that people endured for the sake of a better life. When you think of harrowing journeys you may picture intense storms and bloody battles, when in reality a river crossing or a seemingly harmless injury may be what brings someone’s journey to swift end. As the group meets obstacle after obstacle Amy Harmon has a way of making you feel like you are there with them. Her imagery paints a realistic picture of what they would come across without needing to add over-the-top exaggerations to take you there. 

Amy Harmon is well known for books that give you the feels and this one was no different. This was a story about a group of people heading West with the hopes of making a better life for their families, and with best of intentions meet loss and heartache. I always wonder if they knew what lay ahead of them would still take that first step away from home to the great unknown. Despite everything, there is a truly remarkable love story that defies all the odds. If you are looking for an escape from our modern day woes I highly recommend Where the Lost Wonder.  It may make you cry, but you will love every second of it! Congratulations on an amazing new release!