Book Review: Where the Trail Ends by Melanie Dobson

By | October 3, 2012

I know I have mentioned it before, but I am a huge fan of Melanie Dobson’s work.  Her historical novels are the ultimate form of escape – transporting you to another place and time.  I often get so engrossed in her writing that I stay up until the wee hours of morning to finish, rather than having to wait to see how the story ends.  Her latest book, Where the Trail Ends, is set during the Westward Expansion and follows a young woman and her brother as they travel along the Oregon Trail.

About the Book:

A young woman traveling the Oregon Trail in 1842 must rely on a stranger to bring her to safety. But whom can she trust with her heart?

For two thousand miles along the trail to Oregon Country, Samantha Waldron and her family must overcome tremendous challenges to reach the Willamette Valley before winter. Together they weather autumn storms, hunger and thirst, and the dangers of a wild and unfamiliar country. But when their canoe capsizes on the Columbia River, they must rely on handsome British exporter Alexander Clarke to rescue them from the icy water.

Alex escorts Samantha and her young brother, Micah, to Fort Vancouver. There Samantha is overwhelmed with men vying for her affections, but the only one who intrigues her-Alex-is the one she cannot have. When his betrothed arrives unexpectedly from England to escort him home, Samantha becomes determined to create a home for herself and Micah in the fertile valley far away from the fort. But how will an unmarried woman support herself and her brother in the wilderness alone?

Then Micah disappears into the wilderness one rainy night, and Samantha must rely on the man she loves-the man she’s trying desperately to forget-to rescue her brother before it’s too late.

About the Author:

Melanie Dobson has written ten contemporary and historical novels including five releases in Summerside’s Love Finds You series. In 2011, two of her releases won Carol Awards: Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa (for historical romance) and The Silent Order (for romantic suspense).

Prior to her writing career, Melanie was the corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family and a publicist for The Family Channel. She later launched her own public relations company and worked in the fields of publicity and journalism for more than fifteen years.

Melanie and her family enjoy their home in the Pacific Northwest. The entire Dobson family loves to travel and hike in both the mountains and along the cliffs above the Pacific.

When Melanie isn’t writing or playing with her family, she enjoys exploring ghost towns and dusty back roads, line dancing, and reading inspirational fiction.

Find out more about Melanie at

My Thoughts:

At it’s heart, Where the Trail Ends, is a story of hope and how that can sustain a person through the most dire of circumstances.  The journey along the Oregon Trail was not easy for our main character, Samantha, yet she carried on – always determined and filled with the hope of a new life.

I love how well-researched Melanie Dobson’s books are.  I felt if I were really traveling along the Oregon Trail with them, facing danger at every turn from wild animals, volatile weather, or devastating illnesses.  The book makes you appreciate all the hardships and sacrifices the pioneers made by traveling to the west and opening up that area of the country for the rest of us.

I have to wonder what I would do if I were faced with some of the same choices Samantha was in the book.  Would I have ever left the comfort of my home to start a new life in the great unknown?  Would I have the strength to stay with my father in his final hours, knowing that the choice meant the rest of the group would leave me behind in the wilderness?  Would I always take the easy way out, or would I have the strength to do what I knew in my heart was right?

I think what endeared me the most to the main character was Samantha’s determination.  This is a young woman who is beaten down by the circumstances of life, but not crushed.  She lost her mother before the journey even began.  She walked for thousands of miles.  She faced dangers and fear.  She endured periods of little food and water.  She watched her father die, powerless to do anything. She was left alone as the sole protector of her brother with no way to support them.  Yet through all the struggles, Samantha never lost sight of the fact that God was providing for her and watching out for her.  Samantha persevered and was able to find love despite all that she had been through.

Where the Trail Ends is a beautiful story of how God’s love can sustain us against all odds and how we can find love even in the darkest of circumstances.  If you are a fan of inspirational historical fiction, I would definitely recommend that you read this book.  And now on to a fun giveaway…

American Tapestries Kindle Fire Giveaway

and 10/18 Facebook Party

Celebrate with Melanie by entering to win a Kindle Fire!

One fortunate winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Fire
  • Where the Trail Ends by Melanie Dobson
  • Queen of the Waves by Janice Thompson

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 17th. Winner will be announced at the American Tapestries Author Chat Facebook Party on 10/18. Connect with authors Melanie Dobson and Janice Thompson for an evening of book chat, trivia and fun! There will also be gift certificates, books, and a Book Club Prize Pack to be won (10 copies for your book club or small group)!

So grab your copy of Where the Trail Ends and Queen of the Waves and join Melanie Dobson and Janice Thompson on the evening of the October 18th for a chance to connect with the authors and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the books – don’t let that stop you from coming!)

Don’t miss a moment of the fun, RSVP today. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 18th!

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book to facilitate this review. No other compensation was received and all opinions stated are my own.

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