- Child abuse/sexual assault
- Attempted rape
- Death, and murder, of relatives
I remember in school briefly hearing about The Donner Party, a group of pioneers who had such a hard journey, and so many losses, they resorted to cannibalism. When given the chance to join Baker.Reads book club and read this book I thought…why not?
Before joining the book club I’d never heard of this book…but the idea of a retelling with potential paranormal elements? It was too good to pass up. Knowing that Baker.Reads has a much stronger stomach than I do (check out some of the books he talks about on Tiktok and you’ll know what I mean) I was also a bit nervous to read this book…I genuinely had no idea what I was getting myself into.
I was pleasantly surprised at home much I enjoyed reading this book. There wasn’t really any scenes in it that got graphic in their descriptions. Other than a few topics that might be harder for someone younger to think about (cannibalism, human sacrifice, child murder, and mention of child sexual abuse) this book never went into gory, or descriptive, details even when it came to the listed subjects.
This book went back and forth between nine different perspectives and occasionally flashed back to times that helped us further understand some of the characters and why they were on the trail. What was fascinating was discovering how linked these people were, whether they realized it or not. Different times in their past, even a small decision, led them all to be together on this journey.
Now if you are more into fast-paced stories, ones with clear beginnings leading up to a climax and then the end…this is not the book for you. If you are fascinated by peeking into the day-to-day lives of different people as they do seemingly mundane things…you’ll really enjoy diving into this book.
As I read through the different perspectives, I kept expecting some huge climactic moment that never came. There was plenty of mystery and discovery but in a slower-paced natural way…if that makes sense. It genuinely felt like I was just a fly on the wall, getting to know all these people and seeing the different decisions that not only leads them to this journey but the decisions that kept them pressing on too.
This was also a book where the author’s notes, at the end of the book, were fascinating to read through. Alma explained why she decided to exclude certain members of the party, as well as adding in fictional party members. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book and look forward to seeing what else Alma has written.