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Westering Women

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  2,513 ratings  ·  593 reviews
From the bestselling author of Prayers for Sale, an inspiring celebration of sisterhood on the perilous wagon-trail west

"If you are an adventuresome young woman of high moral character and fine health, are you willing to travel to California in search of a good husband?"

It's February 1852, and all around Chicago Maggie sees the postings soliciting "eligible women" to trave
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published January 7th 2020 by St. Martin's Press
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Average rating 3.90  · 
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 ·  2,513 ratings  ·  593 reviews

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Angela M
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
I couldn’t help but like these women from the get go. The women who took up the opportunity when they read this:

“If you are an adventuresome young woman of high moral character and fine health, are you willing to travel to California in search of a good husband?”

Not all of the women, however, were looking for husbands. One was trying to escape an abusive husband who may or may not be alive. One was trying to forge her own way when held by societal views in the 1850’s that women can’t own land ev
Sep 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
In 1852, Maggie decides to respond to a broadsheet advertising for strong and good Christian women to embark on a 2,000-mile journey to find a husband in California. Running from her past in Chicago, Maggie hopes no one will recognize her along the way. Shortly after they begin their travels, the group of women led by two pastors experience countless hardships, loss, and sacrifice.

"Sometimes the unknown ahead is preferable to the known we have left behind."

Misogyny, disparity, and injustice
Diane S ☔
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
A partly sentimental rating and rating, because I absolutely came to admire and adore these women. Twenty seven women, leave from Chicago to head to the good fields of California to become the brides of men they haven't yet met. They all have different reasons to leave the lives they are currently living, some we don't find out until later in the story. As we go along with the women on their journey we, with them, encounter danger, pasts catching up with the wagons, illnesses, Indians, and death ...more
The first thing that caught my eye about this book was the cover. It is absolutely gorgeous and suggests a sweeping epic inside. When I saw the page count I was a little perplexed at how a story of this nature (a group of women traveling on the Overland Trail from Chicago to California during the 1850s) could be so short. Still, this isn't a topic I know anything about and I wanted to learn more. Plus, the story sounded so interesting and it's unique! The beginning was good enough, but it quickl ...more
Jan 06, 2020 rated it liked it
3 stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️

I’ve always been fascinated by the western trails and learning more about the life and times that those people lived. When I saw this book on NetGalley, I really wanted it and was excited to get into it once I was approved.

I’ve never read anything by Sandra Dallas, so I didn’t know what to expect. The book was very easy to read and I liked her writing style.

Unfortunately, I just didn’t absolutely love it. While I know times were much different back then, there was just too much
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Westering Women by Sandra Dallas is an enjoyable historical fiction account of forty-four women, one four year-old girl, and two ministers that undertake the journey from Chicago to Goosetown, California. The women are search for husbands in gold country; or are they?

Sandra Dallas does a great job of painting the picture of both the women as well as the lands and people they encounter along the way. It is 1852 and there are hardships and triumphs along the way as they cross rivers, high plains,
Karren  Sandercock
I was so excited to be given the chance to read Westering Women by Sandra Dallas. I live in Australia, for years I have looked at her books on Amazon and I have never had the opportunity to read one.

Chicago February 1852, Maggie Kaiser reads a notice about a wagon train leaving soon, it's traveling to Goosetown in California. She's a struggling young mother, with a young daughter and takes in sewing to make ends meet.
Maggie joins 43 other women who are looking for a new start, they begin the lo
Nov 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle, netgalley
Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for an egalley in exchange for an honest review

Margaret(Maggie Kaiser) and her daughter,Clara need to stay as far away from abusive husband and father, Jesse. But this is Chicago in 1852 and what can a woman do? But in Chicago there are adverts that are encouraging the women in the East to migrate to California to marry. Maggie finds herself attending the information meeting and befriends Mary. Soon they find themselves joining the wagon train of wom
Good people are like candles; they burn themselves up to give others light.

Sandra Dallas presents a thought-provoking novel encompassing a very different Western movement in America. It's February of 1852 in Chicago with fierce winds propelling off the lake and bone-chilling rain soaking the brave souls who venture out onto the wooden sidewalks and muddy terrain.

Maggie clutches the hand of her four year old daughter and reads the bulletin tacked to the outside of a meeting hall. It's an ad calli
Fascinating story!
It’s hard to imagine a wagon train full of women in the 1850’s heading across the west to California. Because of an advertisement wanting eligible women, a group of 44 ladies join in on the journey west. Each one seeking a better life, many leaving behind painful memories and terrible secrets, they are willing to face the hardships of the journey in hopes of a brighter future.

Maggie, a young mother with a 4 year-old daughter, is escaping an abusive husband. In fact, Maggie is n
In February 1852, notices are posted all over Chicago: "If you are an adventuresome young woman of high moral character and fine health, are you willing to travel to California in search of a good husband?" It sounds perfect to Maggie, so she and her little girl sign up, along with 43 other women, for the California-bound wagon train led by two ministers. Maggie isn't looking for a husband, though—she has other reasons for wanting to leave Chicago.

Of all the people traveling together, the main p
I don't read a lot of westerns, but this novel is fantastic! Thanks to goodreads for sending this book! A group of women, led by two ministers, head to California from the east coast on the pretense of seeking husbands in 1852. Along the was there are deaths and many trials to be gone through while the women grow stronger and more confident in themselves. I would rate this novel 4.5 stars and highly recommend this to all women. ...more
Dawn Michelle
VERY UNPOPULAR REVIEW BELOW [in light of all the 4 and 5 star reviews I have read]

I need to preface this review with this - this book COULD have been a great book. It has the bones of an excellent, fantastic, edge-of-your-seat, epic read. I was expecting this as it is a book about women who CHOOSE to make the trek across the wilds of America and the Sierra Nevada's to California and a better life [though I am unsure how they thought living in a "gold" town with rough men as their husbands would
Linda (not getting friends updates at this time)
This story had all the hallmarks of something I should have enjoyed: a group of women traveling west in the early 1850s to marry men from the California gold rush. It was suppose to be a marriage of convenience trope but on a grander scale.

I remembered liking Ms. Dallas’ The Diary of Mattie Spenser when I read it in 2013. I knew the author wrote with a good sense of place, a smattering of reality and was able to twist the readers’ emotions. I thought it was a moving and poignant piece of histor
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic historical novel of women crossing the Overland trail to California from Chicago in the 1850s. This is a terrific period piece, a moving novel and a gentle feminest manifesto. The reader will engage with and cheer for these diverse women (all running to something or away from something?) and feel the heat and grit of the trail, the potential danger lurking around every bend, and the deep bond the women made surviving the trials along the way. Great characters, and compelling personal ...more
Dec 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
In 1852 Chicago, Maggie is running from trouble. She may have killed a man and authorities are looking for her. The fact he deserved it doesn't matter. Knowing she needs to protect herself and her young daughter, she decides to set out with a wagon train headed for California. Most of those travelling with the train are women seeking husbands. There aren't many women in they are all hoping to start new lives. Some of them might not survive the 2,000 mile trek, but all are willing ...more
Karen M
Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
One of the reasons I enjoy historical fiction is because it is based on factual events or periods in history. I knew of the gold rush and the thousands upon thousands of people who trekked across the US to reach the promised land of California where they would make their fortunes. Some families went but there were a great many men who made the long arduous trip but they all went to seek the gold that would change their lives for the better.

Not everyone went to find wealth. Some went to flee thei
WESTERING WOMEN by Sandra Dallas gives fans of pioneer stories many of the details we love, but lacks the emotion I crave. I was torn throughout the novel between loving that it was the unusual story I wanted, but without the passion I craved.

See the full color review at my blog,

I love a wagon train story, especially one that’s mostly women. In this book, all the characters are interesting with something to hide, or a reason to run to California for a new life. These ladies wan
Deanne Patterson
Jan 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Deanne by:
Some may call this a dark book.
I've enjoyed all the books I've read by Sandra Dallas.
The story starts out very well but towards the middle really gets bogged down with too much violence and details. This was meant to be a realistic portrayal of forty-three other women and two pious reverends on the dangerous 2,000-mile journey west.
So much hardship they faced after we become bogged down with details it's saving grace is the nice ending.

Published January 7th 2020 by St. Martin's Press
I was given
Feb 13, 2020 rated it liked it
This is Historical Fiction set in the mid 1800's. This particular time in history is one of my favorites to read about so because of that, I enjoyed this one. The story was original and interesting. Some religious leaders lead women from Chicago via wagon train to California to be potential brides for the men trying to get rich during the Gold Rush. This had a certain sweetness that many love in their stories, but it was a little too sweet for me. I gave this 3 stars because it is an interesting ...more
Dec 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a great book! I suppose I should say more than that. This book intrigued me from the first paragraph. I've read a few of this author's books. But this one just blew me away.

The story itself is relatively simple. Two women meet early in the story (Mary and Maggie) and, for reasons we learn about later, sign up to head west on an all woman wagon train! That was enough to get me reading. Mary and Maggie are definitely the main characters, but there are so many more that we meet! The history is
Jan 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
There's a 1951 film, Westward the Women, that's one of my all-time favorites. It's the story of a wagon train of mail-order brides. Robert Taylor stars as the trail guide taking a group of women from Chicago to California. I'm not saying Sandra Dallas' Westering Women is derivative because most of the women in the book are quite different. But, Westering Women is the story of a group of women who sign on with a couple ministers to travel from Chicago to California across the Overland Trail in 18 ...more
Oct 18, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: arcs
Many thanks to the publisher for the advanced copy. Here is my honest review.

This book was so bad I ended up taking notes so I could write a properly angry review for the publisher and Dallas is now on my "Do not read" list. I might post that review later but for right now all I'll say is that the women made stupid mistake after stupid unbelievable mistake all the way to California, there should be a trigger warning on the front for multiple rapes/attempted rapes (I read and enjoyed all of Game
KellI Preston
Sep 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
Normally I love Sandra Dallas but this one just wasn't up to snuff. I thought a story of women pioneering across the west would be better than this. Mostly I think it was due to the women. I just didn't connect to any of them and really couldn't get invested in their story. I feel bad because this has never happened when I have read one of her books before. The writing was what I'm used to from her so it has to be my disconnection with the characters.

Nevertheless I thank the publishers and Net G
Nicole momming_and_reading
Jan 15, 2020 rated it did not like it
It is the year 2020 -- and this book shouldn't have been published.
This book is perpetuating the 'savage Native American' stereotype. NOPE.
The only person of color with a name has been lied to her whole life about her heritage (view spoiler). NOPE.
Every single man in this book was a complete piece of shit. NOPE.
Pacing was crap. Characters were flat & dull.

Thanks to St. Martin's Press for the review copy.

Full review here:
Nov 28, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc-netgalley
I received this from for a review.

It's February 1852, and all around Chicago Maggie sees the postings soliciting "eligible women" to travel to the gold mines of Goosetown. So she joins forty-three other women and two pious reverends on the dangerous 2,000-mile journey west.

As the story progresses, the women who are very different and from different backgrounds, meld together and become a strong cohesive group.

Andria Potter
Jun 22, 2020 rated it it was ok
DNF at 60 pages.

Trigger warnings for rape, child abuse, child sexual abuse, gang rape, judgmental a**es, and harsh bullying towards children. Thoroughly religious and though I liked Maggie and Mary, the amount of triggers in this is astounding. I wanted to like this so much more than I did. Onto the next book I go.

2 🌟
Dec 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
In 1852, ministers organize a group of Chicago women to make the journey west to California, becoming wives to men there. Although they intended to take only women of the highest character, a varied group formed. Maggie, the story's central character, flees with her four-year-old daughter after either murdering or attempting to murder an abusive husband. The group also includes an unwed mother, a "lady of the evening," and other women with their own secrets which surface in the story. A remarkab ...more
Rating: 4.5 stars rounded down to 4 stars

As a big fan of the author, Sandra Dallas, I was so happy to receive an eARC of her latest book. Once again, she has written a compelling work of historical fiction that I can’t wait to tell my fellow readers about. I am a sucker for a good wagon trail story so I have read many accounts of the overland trail to the Western territories. This one ranks right up there with other favorites in the sub-genre.

This story is about a band of women who come together
Sep 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 - This story was all about sisterhood and I loved every minute of it (thanks Andrea!). Taking the trek from Chicago to California during the 1850’s gold rush was formidable for men, not to mention a group of women. Through trials and tribulations, death, loss and hardship these women came together for a cause greater than themselves and formed life long bonds. The characters were perfectly drawn, the atmosphere palpable and the adventure never lagged. This was a quiet and easy read that said ...more
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Award-winning author SANDRA DALLAS was dubbed “a quintessential American voice” by Jane Smiley, in Vogue Magazine. Sandra’s novels with their themes of loyalty, friendship, and human dignity have been translated into a dozen foreign languages and have been optioned for films.

A journalism graduate of the University of Denver, Sandra began her writing career as a reporter with Business Week. A staff

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