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A Small Part of History

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Remarkable. Inspiring. Heartbreaking . In the summer of 1845 Rebecca Springer and her family join the Oregon wagon train in search of land thousands of miles away. It's a hard and dangerous journey through blizzards and searing heat, over prairies, desert plains and mountains and, at times, it seems as if it will never end. But an unbreakable bond develops amongst the travelling women as they are tested, physically and emotionally, and their shared experiences of new life and tragic death will bring them closer than blood ever could.
How the west was won and the terrible price that was paid. A Small Part of History is an epic, heartfelt story of courage in the face of appalling adversity, and a haunting portrayal of how America was forged. Above all, it is a story of people and how the ties that bind us most strongly are those of friendship, of family and of love.

304 pages, Hardback

First published February 7, 2008

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5 stars
14 (11%)
4 stars
52 (41%)
3 stars
37 (29%)
2 stars
17 (13%)
1 star
4 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 20 of 20 reviews
Profile Image for Tanti.
82 reviews
April 27, 2009
Bland and forgettable. But I didn't expect too much from it anyway. I was just curious because on the front cover of my copy there's a red sticker that says, "Guaranteed to break your heart". Well, not many books break my heart, so i wonder if this one truly would. And...it didn't.

14 reviews
December 5, 2022
This book charts an American family's journey along The Oregon Trail ,so it is interesting for those ,like myself,who enjoy this time in USA history - it's set in 1846.
The central character is a young girl by the name of Sarah who sets out with a company of wagon travellers from Independence Missouri and traverses all the hazards of the trail and interwoven love ,losses and tragedies.
Some very accurate research ,it is based on the diaries of an actual pioneer traveller,so you get to know exactly how it was.
The story is ok but lacks bite,however the historical elements alone made it gain extra stats from me.
Profile Image for Camille.
464 reviews19 followers
November 26, 2014
It was a very good novel. It read very-well and was fast paced. If you are interested in pioneer stories, then definitely give it a go. It shows the hardships of going West without sugar coating it.

I am only giving it 4 out of 5 as I was sometimes bothered by the change of point of view from Sarah's first person account to the third person account of Rebecca's story. I also felt there was something lacking from the story but I can't pinpoint it for sure. It may be that it is too fast paced to go into much detail and get you to really emotionally attach to the characters. There is also too much bad luck going on. Now I know that it was hard going for the pioneers, but not everything has to be bad!
Profile Image for Jan.
780 reviews254 followers
October 1, 2010
I really enjoyed this gritty tale about the Oregon trail in America in the mid 19th century.
Told from the perspective of several of the few women travelling with their menfolk in wagon trains across an unimaginable distance of practically uncharted hostile territory.
You really feel as if you're travelling with them having to accept whatever's decided by menfolk who often make ill advised choices due to lack of experience and difficulties of communication common to that age.
Heartrending in places, a very thought provoking yet easy read.
Profile Image for Rita.
290 reviews3 followers
September 2, 2014
Having just visited the area of the Oregon Trail I found this book quite fascinating. It is written in different voices and occasionally I couldn't figure out who was "talking" but I still found it enlightening. The characters are well-rounded and their words pull the reader into the story and their thoughts.

What these women went through is unbelievable. The author took many stories of that time and changed the immediate circumstances and blended them into the story. I don't think I would have wanted to make that trip.
June 30, 2012

I enjoyed this book, it wasn't a gripping tale, but interesting from the viewpoint of the women forging the Oregon trail. I liked the historical facts inter-weaved into the story and the interesting narrative that flicked between characters journals and storytelling. I felt I could believe the characters and relate to them but wasn't all that impressed with all the bad luck... Something you'll understand if you read it!
Profile Image for Frauke.
12 reviews1 follower
October 12, 2008
ok - a bit simplistic and emotionally sterile. fails at its undertaking to recreate the female side of the Oregon trail. All I remember is that ALL the women die in childbirth or as a result of childbirth on the trail!! the teenaged girl survives. What do I learn: No sex on the trail ;-). fine as a go-to-sleep book.
Profile Image for Verena Berger.
Author 5 books4 followers
September 27, 2012
I enjoyed this book very much. Even though I have heard and read many stories of this migration many times before, none touched me in the way this story did. It made me reflect on my life and realize how lucky we are... As an immigrant myself I am in awe of how much these early pinoeers risked and sacrificed.
Profile Image for Eva.
110 reviews2 followers
June 6, 2015
My mother in law recommended this book to me a few years ago and I have finally read it. It was a good historical novel. As I read it, I kept thinking about 'Little House on the Prairie' by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I loved reading that series when I was younger. This novel is a grittier version and very sad. Worth reading.
43 reviews
September 3, 2010
I'm previewing this to read aloud for the "Idaho Commission for Libraries Talking Book Service". It looks like it will be great (unlike some of the stuff I have to read). I am partial to pioneer stories.
Profile Image for Sabelmouse.
18 reviews5 followers
April 23, 2010
i loved this book. a great inside into the hard ships of those people and especially the
i weas surprised that not everybody on ths journey was desperate but that some people went because they wanted more or new.
i'd always thought only people with nothing else would have gone.
Profile Image for Penelope.
490 reviews114 followers
July 5, 2010
Whilst I did enjoy this book I did think it was a bit history-lite. Lacking in detail and emotional depth it could have been so much more. It has made me want to read more about this period of history though so not a complete loss.
Profile Image for Jaffareadstoo.
2,588 reviews
August 3, 2010
Set in 1840,this follows the fortunes, and hardships of the Springer family as they make their way along the Oregon trail. Forced to make dreadful sacrifices along the journey , this is a story of hope over adversity. Enjoyed it.
Profile Image for Cat.
425 reviews13 followers
October 13, 2008
Their husbands decided to go to Oregon and they supported their choices despite sorrow and death. I wouldn't call it great literature but it was nice plane reading.
50 reviews
March 23, 2010
I love pioneer fiction, but this was disappointing.
Profile Image for Rachel.
11 reviews
January 1, 2011
I really enjoyed this book. It wasn't a 'can't put this down' story but it was interesting to read about the Oregon Train from the prospective of the women on the journey.
Profile Image for Fi.
593 reviews
March 10, 2011
I already thought those pioneers were brave (or foolhardy!), but after reading this my admiration for the women in particular has grown exponentially
Profile Image for Caroline.
42 reviews1 follower
February 7, 2012
Perfectly enjoyable, but not a specially memorable book. The characters are well drawn, but the narrative style lets it down.
Displaying 1 - 20 of 20 reviews

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