Impatient with Desire
By Gabrielle Burton
Before reading Gabrielle Burton’s Impatient with Desire, I knew very little about the tragic end of the Donner party. A true event in which settlers heading for California get stuck in the Sierra Nevada mountains and fight for survival amidst harsh winter and starvation.
George and Tamsen Donner strike out, with their five children, for adventure, land and fortune in 1846. Burton retells the tale in the voice of Tamsen, through the use of letters and journal entries. Burton writes beautifully not just about the tragic demise but the grit of human spirit. The ending is already known by most, but it is Burton’s lyrical writing as Tamsen that captures a story of the folly of being impatient with desire.
This next book would be more literary ficiton but it takes place during the Civil war.
Walking to Gatlinburg
By Howard Frank Mosher
This book was a beautiful read. It read cinematically but also viscerally; I could feel the snow falling on my face, smell the stench of the bad guys and feel the weight of Morgan’s gun. Starting in Vermont, Morgan Kinneson learns of his brother’s, Pilgrim’s, disappearance after the battle of Gettysburg.
Not wholly convinced that Pilgrim is dead Morgan gets it in his head to search for his brother himself. Before he makes any definite plans though, Morgan inadvertently gets involved with a mysterious band of outlaws who begin to follow him after they kill a runaway slave Morgan and his family are helping to escape to Canada.
I have to say that I loved the characters as much as I loved the writing and the story; even the bad guys were enjoyable, and Morgan’s heroism and daring make for an excellent read.