Like Laura Ingalls Wilder, Dawn Miller gives voice to a generation of American pioneer women through Callies journal. History comes to life with all the tragedies and triumphs of a harrowing wagon train journey from Independence, Missouri to the Sierra Nevadas.

Callies father hopes her fragile little sister Rose will get well if they leave the east and head for the clean air out west. Packing up their worldly possessions, the Wade family joins a wagon train bound for California.

Like all young women, Callie has dreams, but they never included a man like Quinn McGregor, big and strong and intriguing. At 18 Callie is ready for adventure and love. Her strength, courage and strong will carry her through the difficult weeks ahead.

In her debut novel, Dawn Miller recreates a bygone era with imagery that illuminates the reality of the wagon train era. This beautifully realistic story told in the voice of one extraordinary girl is historical fiction at its best. Its tenderness, grit, gumption and amazing characters will captivate. SWEET (July, 326 pp., $6.99)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin