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Crossing the Wide Forever

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  320 ratings  ·  50 reviews
Cody Walsh leaves Arkansas for California. Lured by stories of opportunity, even for women, Cody disguises herself as a man and prepares for the arduous journey west.

Lillie Ellis leaves New York to accept a post as a schoolteacher on the frontier near a small homestead she just inherited from her uncle. Lillie’s ultimate desire is to become a painter, and she hopes the Ka
Paperback, 240 pages
Published June 20th 2017 by Bold Strokes Books
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Average rating 4.01  · 
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Lex Kent
3 1/2 Stars. This was a good, historic-fiction, by Vaun. I like how Vaun writes, and I easily got sucked into this story. I am not the biggest historical-fiction fan. I think part of that is because women were treated so badly back then, that it can be hard to read about. Luckily, this was mostly a feel good story, with some romance.

The story is about two mains, Lillie and Cody. Lillie, is well bread and raised in New York. Her uncle dies and left a homestead in Kansas, in her name. Lillie decid
Apr 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: sapphic, 3, faking-it
The plot was very similar to Jae’s Backwards to Oregon although I didn't like this one as much. I really liked the vivid descriptions of their journey. The romance was sweet. I liked that Cody was shy and Lillie was the more forward of the two. IMO the secret came out way too soon. And what was that ending? Cody just forgot about her sister. ...more
Lexxi Kitty
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and Bold Strokes Books in exchange for an honest review.

In 1856 two women, separately, begin to head west. Lillie Ellis has an inheritance of land that she’s decided, against her mother’s advice/desire, to go assume. She’s setting out from New York, heading to Kansas via St Louis and Independence Missouri. Meanwhile, Cody Walsh cannot take another whipping from her father, and so she’s also going to head west – starting from Arkansas with some vague
May 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
3.8 stars
Very nice historical romance with a little bit of adventure and not much angst. I like reading about women travelling to the West in the 1800 something, especially with a character achieving more freedom by living as a man. This novel played around 1860. One of the characters is from a well to do family and an artist, the other has a background of hardship. They connect while travelling on a boat to go west. Both of them were very likeable. Most supporting characters were nice too. Very
Jane Shambler
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley, western
I really enjoyed this book. It was written with passion and the adventurous spirit of those who made the journey all those years ago. It is a really enjoyable book and I could not put it down.

There are two main characters. Lillie from New York from a well educated and privileged background inherits her uncle's farm in Kansas and decides to make the journey west to new lands. Cody has a simple life on a farm in Arkansas, after her mother died her father became a violent drunk. So she leaves and a
I liked it.

Not much for historic novels but there's just something about the rugged west that draws me. This story was a good one. I really liked how the secret of Cody being a woman was discovered by Lillie early on. It their journey much more enjoyable. I will say that overall the story was lighthearted compared to others ive read like this l, which is why the scene with Beth and Joseph felt out of place. It didn't really add to the story because that wasn't the tone it was set. I will also sa
Jun 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Until now, I had not read any book by this writer, one of the reasons was that I did not like the covers of her books, is that reasonable enough? Well, now I have read the first one, which is not part of a series, although it is not his first romantic historical novel. And I must say that I liked it quite a lot. The history seemed to me well developed and well paced, the two protagonists are very interesting, each one in her role. With all the sordid adventures that could have cross their path, ...more
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lesbian-fiction
This is the first novel I have read by Missouri Vaun, but I really enjoyed it so I am going to read her other books. I love historical fiction, but I really enjoy this style of historical fiction. The cross dressing women of the frontier always get me. I wish there were more books out there like this one. It is a fast read, and was well written. It was a lot more fiction than historical... so you don't have to worry about reading a historical fiction that ends up reading like a history lesson. T ...more
AnnMaree Of Oz
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Historical fiction novels are one of my favorite genres. I love to read about history, and I enjoy it even more if there is a romantic element in the tale. The really hard part has been finding good historical fiction/romance books with lesbian main characters. There just aren’t that many out there.

This is why I was so happy to find Crossing The Wide Forever by Missouri Vaun. The story is set in the year 1856 during the westward expansion of the American frontier. The tale is about Cody Walsh an
Aj Smith
May 21, 2017 rated it liked it
So, this is going to end up reading a bit like my review of Divided Nation, United Hearts; if you want to read an old timey western about a woman dressing up as a man to gain her freedom while travelling in a wagon train and then farming, read Backwards to Oregon. Yet again I let myself that another book might get it right and yet again I was wrong.

This starts off quite well, conflict two independent women, the secret's out early but then it loses pace and the happily ever after comes way too s
Katherine Jensen
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was my first Missouri Vaun book and it will not be my last. I have found that I absolutely love stories like these and anyone that likes books such as Jae's Backwards to Oregon will also like this. It was well-written, the pace was great, and the romance was sweet. I'd definitely recommend this for those that like historical fiction romance.

ARC received from NetGalley in exchange for honest review
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
It is a good book, an enjoyable, plausible story of two women finding each other a long time ago.
It kept me interested from the beginning to the end, but it bothered me that a lot of expressions seemed too modern for the time. For example "she wasn’t sure if the adrenaline charging through her system was because of the fistfight or because she was in Lillie’s cabin." I don't think that adrenaline was commonly known back in the 1800s. There are several similar out of time words, but overall it w
3,5 stars

Okay so, first of all, this is the first time I read anything by Missouri Vaun, and so far I'm enjoying her writing. She clearly got some research done because I've never read any historical fiction like this book.

This book tells a story about two female characters so different from one another. One is Cody, a farmer daughter that came from a big lower-class family. She had 2 older brothers that was close in age with her and one younger sister (which was 12 while Cody was 18). Her moth
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cody is tired of her violent home life so she decides to leave and head west. California seems a lot better than what she was leaving behind. Cody dresses as a man thinking she'd have more freedom and less problems on her journey.

Lillie feels stifled at home. She recently inherited a homestead in Kansas. Lillie looks at this as an opportunity for some independence and freedom from expectations.

I was quickly pulled into the story. The characters were likable and I wanted to learn more about them.
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and Bold Strokes Books in exchange for an honest review.

It was a quick and easy read but for some reason the main characters did just not seem believable or realistic enough for me. The historic parts seemed well researched and accurate but it is a timeframe I'm not particularly interested in, so the story didn't keep my attention.
May 29, 2017 rated it liked it
*ARC provided by Netgalley and the Publisher for an honest review*

Missouri Vaun is an amazing writer and Crossing the Wide Forever is a very well written story. So why have I given it such a low rating? Because it's is an amazing story for another time period.

Lillie and Cody are an adorable couple and I love how aggressive, the city girl, Lillie is and how nervous and shy Cody, it adds to their dynamic.

If this story had been set in a different time period I would have definitely given it 4 - 4.
Mirtha Siblesz
Jun 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very good period book

This was a very good book about the 1850s Americans. Cody and Lillie were very good characters. Well depicted and their love story reminded me in some ways to the story of Patience and Sarah by Isabel Miller which was set in much earlier times but with similar hardships that women had to go through back then. The author did an excellent job of depicting the prairie they traveled on and the way St. Louis looked like back in the day. Overall, very well done!
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have an appreciation for historical reads with interesting and engaging leading ladies. Cody Walsh is unsure of the fortitude she has yet she knows life can and should be better for her and her sister. Lillie Ellis is naïve to some extent but has a willingness to go after what she wants. The description of the landscape, people and hardships was so well articulated that I felt for and cheered for the leading ladies. The romance was so sweet as Cody and Lillie worked together to overcome variou ...more
Mar 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Jae’s Backwards to Oregon is probably one of my top 5 favorite lesfic books, so of course I was going to compare this one to that one. This book didn’t quite meet that bar, but it was still really enjoyable. Definitely my favorite by Vaun so far.
A 2 1/2 star book at best for me with at least half a star for the cover alone, which is far more interesting than the actual story. I've read quite a few historical les-fics set in this rough time period and they're all pretty similar with almost carbon-copy characters. This story didn't do much to differentiate itself from the rest of the pack with the same ho hum characters and a very light story with no real stakes no overcome. For a story about fording the great frontier and staking a claim ...more
Jun 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Historical fiction and lesbian romance … what a great combination! I loved this book and was caught up in the story immediately. One of my hobbies is genealogy and I have learned that many of my ancestors rode wagon trains in the 1850’s to settle in the Midwest. I experienced an instant melding with the characters.

The two main characters are Lillie and Cody. Lillie is from New York city and longs to be free of the
confines of societal rules for women. She inherits a Kansas farm and heads out wes
Kitty McIntosh
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
‘Crossing the Wide Forever’ is an epic love story set against the background of the drive to the West. Cody Walsh leaves for California disguised as a man, rightly thinking she will be safer and have more opportunities. She meets Lillie Ellis, an artist who is on her way to claim her inheritance. Their tale is one of recognising something in each other, of passion and love that was missing before. It was beautifully told, full of emotion and sexual intensity that took my breath away. Keeping Cod ...more
May 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Read this in one go! As far as I know this is the first book I've read by this author. I was kinda nervous to read it. It's similarity to one of my favorite books ever Backwards to Oregon, made me afraid I would be sorely disappointed. Wow was I wrong!
This was a great romance! It was full of wonderful historical detail but so not boring. There is alittle bit of everything-tender romance, sex, angst and just enough drama to keep things interesting.
Very much enjoyed this one!!

I received an ARC f
Char Dafoe
I adored Cody and Lillie's story. How they met was different than any other frontier story I have read. I also liked that Lillie wasn't afraid to speak her mind, especially when things weren't going in her favour. Cody was a sweetheart with a painful, and I mean physically painful past. Being beaten repeatedly by her drunken father, she finally made the decision to run like Hell with her baby sister for safety. I also enjoyed that Cody was a few years younger than Lillie. Usually, it's whoever i ...more
Jo Watkins
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 star Romance

Beautifully written pioneer women romance .They say that men are the stronger but it’s the women who had the true grit to open up the wild country as many true accounts testified. Women from vastly different backgrounds travel together and falling in love on the wide open plains
Feb 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is the third Missouri Vaun book I’ve read. I think my favorite so far was the first one I read, Whiskey Sunrise, but Crossing the Wide Forever is a close contender. I think Vaun really shines when she writes about the American South and Midwest. I read a fantasy novel, Birthright, by her as well and it was good but not quite as engrossing or captivating as her stories that feature American regional customs, landscape, and character.

Things I really enjoyed about this book in particular incl
Jul 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Note: I received and ARC from NetGalley in exchange for a review. Here you go.

Cody Walsh has finally had enough of her abusive father and takes her sister away from their Arkansas home. She leaves her sister with her aunt, she dresses like a man and strikes out for California to join her brothers. When she meets Lillie Ellis, who is bound for a farm and teaching position in Kansas, the two form a mutually beneficial bond, but neither is prepared for the feelings that begin to develop or farm lif
Melissa Redden
Sep 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Originally posted at

I really enjoyed this book. I liked how it was from the point of view of both Cody and Lillie. When they had conflicts, you could understand them from both of their points of view which made the characters very relatable. I also thought their romance was sweet. It seemed to develop naturally and not be forced like in a lot of lesbian fiction. The story also kept me on the edge of my seat. The ending was amazing one of the best ending I have ever read. I al
I got caught up in Cody and Lillie's world as they braved an unknown and uncertain future as they set out on the long journey to Kansas. Lillie is may be a little lady but she is fierce and I had a good chuckle over her outspoken ways and her feisty personality. Now Cody stole my heart with her strong, reserved and supportive nature and I really wished that I could reach through my kindle to hug her. I have got to hand it to the author, she definitely knows how to craft a beautiful tale with ado ...more
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Missouri Vaun is a two-time Golden Crown Literary Society award-winning lesbian romance writer published by Bold Strokes Books. THE MANDOLIN LUNCH is Vaun's latest novel. Can a cavalier art teacher and a meticulous music teacher find love?

Vaun spent a large part of her childhood in southern Mississippi, before attending high school in North Carolina and college in Tennessee. Strong connections to

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