Sunday, 18 October 2015

West: Journey Across the Plains - David S. Larson

West: Journey Across the Plains by David S. Larson is about the 1849 migration of the Jennings family to San Francisco, California from their home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Written in the form of both letters and accounts from Mr. Jennings' journal, we get to know this family of six from a first-hand perspective on their harrowing and heartbreaking—albeit genuinely inspiring—westward crossing. When a fever leaves seventeen-year old Sarah Jennings without any hope for survival, the family presses forward without their oldest child. However, a miraculous recovery is made and Sarah is forced to press forward herself when faced with the grim realism of survival beyond the infirmity that separates her from her family. Ultimately, the journey is a test of endurance and hope for the family as a whole, as they struggle to find themselves both together and apart in the ubiquitous search for their dreams out west.

Not generally one to enjoy reading stories told in the form of letters and journal entries, West: Journey Across the Plains was a refreshing change to pick up that immediately drew me in. I believe it is the first-person perspective and the way the story is structured that allows for the level of storytelling David Larson is able to bring to the pages. West: Journey Across the Plains is fast-paced and rapidly immersive with both its grit and unapologetic representation of the time. This is a no-holds-barred account based on the author's research of the real Jennings family, and Larson does not scruple in maintaining an authentic tone to the voice of this pioneering family and their experiences, also bringing to life the plight of so many others who struggled—and both faltered and triumphed—in the same vein.

This review was written for Readers' Favorite.


Amazon Link: West: Journey Across the Plains

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