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Westward Hearts (Homeward on the Oregon Trail #1)

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  218 ratings  ·  44 reviews

Bestselling author Melody Carlson begins an inspiring new series of adventure and romance on the Oregon Trail.

Kentucky, 1854--Elizabeth Martin has mourned her husband's death for three years, but now she feels ready to fulfill the dream they had shared--to take their two children west. The dream becomes reality when her middle-aged parents and bachelor brother surprise h

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Paperback, 352 pages
Published September 1st 2012 by Harvest House Publishers (first published August 15th 2012)
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Sara
I have said before that I really enjoy books about the Oregon Trail. One reason for this is probably because there is a nice progression to the story from one event and stop on the trail to another. (I tend to be someone who likes order to things!) I also like them because of the substantial growth that always takes place in the lives of those who are traveling on the Oregon Trail. The harsh conditions and the uncertainty of things push the characters to their limits, and it usually makes them s ...more
Melmac MacDonald
Kentucky, 1854—Elizabeth Martin has mourned her husband’s death for three years, but now she feels ready to fulfill the dream they had shared—to take their two children west. The dream becomes reality when her middle-aged parents and bachelor brother surprise her with the news that they want to go as well.

After converting three of their best wagons to prairie schooners and thoroughly outfitting them, the little party travels from Kentucky to Kansas City, where they join a substantial wagon train
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Barbara Brabank
I enjoyed this second book of the trilogy, but there was one thing in the book that I found aggravating. When the wagon train is almost to the Columbia River the travelers pick "chokeberries" and make a dessert with them. Chokeberries did not grow in the western states. They are native to the eastern states and midwest. The furthest west they grow is in Minnesota. And if the author made a mistake and meant to say "chokecherries" then you would not be able to just pop them in your mouth, chew and ...more
Kate
I enjoy stories of 'crossing the plains', as it puts me in mind of the family history stories of my own ancestors who crossed the plains.
I liked this book, but I think the title was almost misleading. It, and the back of the book 'blurb', made me think that Elizabeth would find love along her journey. While that may happen in subsequent books in this series, it didn't happen in this novel at all. Instead, the story was more about how Elizabeth worked through her grief at her husband's death, and
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Rebecca Young
This is the first book in a series of three about early pioneers traveling to the Oregon Territory. The story begins in Kentucky in 1856, and chronicles a family's adventure on a wagon train headed west. The book series is Christian-based and is labeled as an "inspiring new series of adventure, romance, and faith on the Oregon Trail." It is all that. It is an easy and quick read, but perhaps may be more suited for a younger age group. I will finish the series just to see how this family's advent ...more
Morgan
I'm gonna go ahead and give this 3. It's more of a 2.5?

There were things about it that I liked--the whole Oregon Trail thing, wagon trains, etc. The religion aspect was also well handled in that they were accepting and open and loving and giving and enjoyed having a good time. There were some overly religious people in there who were the ones that people usually complain about or lump everyone else in underneath. Judgmental and overly pious and holier than thou.

It doesn't really hold as a comp
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Victor Gentile
Melody Carlson in her new book, “Westward Hearts book coverWestward Hearts” Book One in the Homeward on the Oregon Trail series published by Harvest House Publishers takes us into the life of Elizabeth Martin.

From the back cover: The Oregon Trail — Hardship or Happiness? Loneliness or Love?

Kentucky, 1856–Elizabeth Martin has mourned her husband’s death for three years, but now she feels ready to fulfill the dream they had shared–to take their two children west. The dream becomes reality when her
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Laura
Title: WESTWARD HEARTS
Author: Melody Carlson
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
September 2012
ISBN: 978-0-7369-4871-5
Genre: Historical

Elizabeth Martin has lost her husband, leaving her a young widow with two young children. When her brother, Matthew, is dumped by his fiancé, the two talk about long dead plans to travel west to the Oregon Territory. Plans that first fell into place when Elizabeth’s husband was alive.

The South is in unrest, with talk of secession, and the possibility of war, it s
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Abbie
Elizabeth lost her husband a few years ago and with him her dream of moving west died as well but now all these years later she finds herself restless and when her brother’s fiancé leaves him for another man the dream to go west becomes a reality. Soon Elizabeth and her two kids along with her brother and parents are heading west on the Oregon Trail.

This is the first book in a series that follows Elizabeth and her family has they head west on the Oregon Trail. I enjoyed this book quite a bit b
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IrenesBookReviews

This is book one in the new series Homeward on the Oregon Trail. I do enjoy any book by Melody Carlson! Because of the author, I thought I should give this book a try. I am glad I did, as the story is more of an adventure then a romance and definitely kept my attention.

Elizabeth has been a widower for three years now and decides it is time to follow her dream and move west with her children. When her family comes along with her she could not be happier. The story is set in the mid 1800’s so you
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Paula-O
Book #1 in series Homeward on the Oregon Trail by Melody Carlson "Westward Hearts"

This is story of Elizabeth Martin who lives in Ky 1856...she is a widow with two small children and it has been three long years since she became a widow. She and her husband had a dream of going West.
When her brother Matthew has his fiancee abruptly leave with his best friend and break their engagment-he is devastated along with a few other emotions that he doesnt want the whole town to talk about. He wants to hid
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Wendy
Elizabeth Martin lost her husband three years ago and is raising her two children on her own. She still wears black and manages to continue running their farm. When Elizabeth and the children to to her parents for Christmas her brother comes home in a foul mood and refuses to join them for Christmas Eve dinner, not only that his fiancee isn't with him. Elizabeth goes to talk to him and finds out that the wedding is called off because his fiancee is now the wife of his best friend and they have l ...more
Lynne Young
I enjoyed this book. It was a little slow getting going but once it did it moved at a nice pace. The characters are well defined and we learn a lot about not only the main characters, but the members of the wagon train as well.

Ms. Carlson does a wonderful job explaining to the reader what pushes Elizabeth Martin to want to make the trek from Kentucky to Kansas City in the 1800's along the Oregon Trail with all of the hardships and perils a wagon train went through during that time. The reader is
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Sarah
Widow Elizabeth and her two children long to fulfill her late husband's dream; going West to greener pastures and abundant land. Brother Matthew wants to leave Kentucky after a called off engagement. Mom and dad can't think of their only children and grandchildren leaving. They all come together to plan for their grand adventure. Can they endure several months in a wagon train? Good book and I can't wait to read the next one in this series.
Janie  R.

I am never disappointed in reading a Melody Carlson book! This 1st book of the series begins with 2 families from Kentucky starting on the Oregon Trail. The plot is fascinating, add to that, characters that come alive in the story, and very interesting details on preparing for a trip on the Oregon Trail. Some great adventures happen on the trail as this pioneer family and others soon find out. I am looking forward to the next book!
Jess
I enjoyed the book, but I wasn't overly impressed. I love Oregon Trail books and I was so very excited to read this one.

I enjoyed the characters in the story and how they progressed. I do, however, wish that the story hadn't been split where it ended. I feel like it left it feeling choppy. I was also looking for a bit more in the terms of writing.

But overall, I enjoyed it more than I disliked it
Trea
This book was a hard one to get into, but it did have some good points going for it. It had extremely vivid descriptions, which helped the reader actually feel like they were going on the Oregon Trail, however those descriptions also wound up bogging down the book, making it slow moving. The characters were also hard to relate to, and how they reacted to things seemed atypical of the time period. I could tell that this book was setting up for the others in the series, but with how hard I had to ...more
Ane Mulligan
Melody Carlson is a master story weaver who always leaves her readers deeply moved. No matter the genre, her characters will take you by the hand and draw you into their world. Westward Hearts did that and more. Novel Rocket and I highly recommend this book. It's a must read.
Christine Rebbert
I picked this up from the new-fiction section of the library because I had very much enjoyed Melody Carlson's "Four Lindas" series -- not because they were well-written, but because the continuing story over the course of four books was engrossing and fun. I gave "Westward Hearts" a shot, but it was a bit too pat and "perky" for such a challenging, dangerous enterprise; kind of on a "Lifetime TV" movie level about the Oregon Trail. Even the cover illustration of the heroine shows her as way too ...more
Darlene
I didn't want this book to end. The tale of simple faith in a setting such as this, the Oregon trail really kept me captivated until the last word. It reminds me to be understanding of others, accepting of the differences we have in culture and ethnicity and to place my daily trust in the Lord. I will be seeking the rest of this series asap.
B
May 01, 2015 B rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2015, 2-star
I wanted to read a book set on the Oregon Trail, but this was a very poor choice. The book was a third over before they even left home and even after the journey was underway the book was so, so boring.
Alex
I love almost everything Melody Carlson writes, and this first book in a new series about the Oregon Trail was no exception!

It took awhile for the actual trip to begin but I liked that it didn't rush through to them immediately on the trail. I didn't realize how little time had actually passed in their world when I got to the end of this book, especially since I'm not sure how many books this series will have. (Goodreads lists just one more)

I really liked Elizabeth and her kids, and being a hist
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June
I've enjoyed other Melody Carlson books and this one fits right in there with being great. The story is well told and once you get in to it, (after the first page or two of where is this going) it's a really good story. The characters are interesting. The struggles are real. It was interesting to see the wide range of people going on the journey, from the non-cooking socialites to those who could live about anywhere. There's always that one family that has to irritate everyone, and Ms. Carlson d ...more
Jessie Cumpson
Pretty good book. Worth a try for someone who likes adventure across the Oregon trail
Lisa Blair
A fun tale of life on the Oregon Trail.
Tammy Bernadt
Great book. Loved every page I read
Wendy
Apr 22, 2014 Wendy rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: c
Didn't finish
Malia
As I was reading this, I thought it was good but not great. But when I was not reading it, I found myself thinking about the characters.

It didn't have an ending. Not a cliffhanger or anything... just end of one chapter, the next book has the next chapter. That was weird.
Audra Falk
I enjoyed every part of this book. The writing is very well-done and the story is well-paced. The characters are believable and fully developed. I love pioneer fiction, but I sometimes find that books in this genre seem overly trite. This book was great. I really look forward to reading the rest of this series. If you enjoy Janette Oke or Lauraine Snelling, you are in for a real treat with this author!
Janet Noonan


Westward hearts was a good read as long as you don't mind a fairy tale approach to a wagon train experience this is not meant as an insult but the heroes and heroines are clear and I think it's safe to assume the rest of the journey will find them safe. It does give a lot of detail to what some of the wagon train rides must have been like. If you want light feel good then this is for you
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Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books, several of them Christmas novellas from Revell, including her much-loved and bestselling book, The Christmas Bus.

She also writes many teen books, including the Diary of a Teenage Girl series, the TrueColors series, and the Carter House Girls series.

Melody was nominated for a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspi
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More about Melody Carlson...

Other Books in the Series

Homeward on the Oregon Trail (3 books)
  • A Dream for Tomorrow (Homeward on the Oregon Trail, #2)
  • A Home at Trail's End (Homeward on the Oregon Trail, #3)
Becoming Me (Diary of a Teenage Girl: Caitlin, #1) Christmas at Harrington's Dark Blue: Color Me Lonely (TrueColors, #1) Blade Silver: Color Me Scarred (TrueColors, #7) The Christmas Bus

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