If y’all have read my blog for any length of time, you know that my favorite way to study history is by reading historical fiction. Nothing puts a person into a period of history and gives her a taste of what it was like to live during that time than a good historical fiction novel.
I enjoy the read-aloud books I share with my kids in our homeschool as much as they do. That’s why I was so excited to learn that Summerside Press has come out with a new series of books called An American Tapestry.
In each American Tapestry book, romance is woven through a particular event or period in history. The first two books in the series are, Where the Trail Ends, by Melanie Dobson, and Queen of the Waves, by Janice Thompson.
Where the Trail Ends follows Samantha Waldron as she travels the Oregon Trail with her father and young brother. The wagon party faces many difficulties, losses, and heart-wrenching decisions along the way.
When Samantha and her brother are rescued from the treacherous waters of the Columbia, Samantha comes face-to-face with British lord, Alexander Clarke. She quickly develops an affection for Alex, but he is already pledged to marry another.
In Queen of the Waves, readers meet Tessa Bowen, a pig farmer’s daughter who finds herself thrust into a life of wealth aboard the luxurious ocean liner Titanic, as she assumes the life of socialite Jacqueline Abingdon.
Abingdon has made secret plans to elope with the family gardener. She pulls Tessa into her deception with the promise of a new life in America away from Tessa’s drunken, abusive father.
Onboard the ill-fated ship, Tessa meets Nathan Patterson, but will he forgive her when he learns of her deception? And, will any of it matter on the cold April night when Titanic sinks into the cold, North Atlantic Ocean?
I enjoyed the historical aspect of both Where the Trail Ends and Queen of the Waves. I learned facts I didn’t know about each period in history and made connections to things that I already knew. It was funny to me that my kids spent a little time learning about Oregon as I was reading Where the Trail Ends, so some of what I was reading tied in to what I was learning alongside them.
I did find myself questioning the motives and the believability of the actions of some of the characters in both books. I don’t know if it was that the characters were a bit underdeveloped for me or that their actions just didn’t always seem plausible. Either way, that was a bit of a distraction for me as I read.
Nonetheless, the historical aspect and the general storylines kept me reading. I thought both books were good – not great, but enjoyable enough to hold my interest and keep me reading.
If you enjoy historical fiction as a means of learning more about a period or event in history, you might want to investigate An American Tapestry series. The next two books to be released are a novel about the Alamo and one about women’s suffrage.
I received these books free for the purpose of reviewing them. I received no other compensation for this review. The opinions expressed in this review are my personal, honest opinions. Your experience may vary. Please read my full disclosure policy for more details.
Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.