Beloved, bestselling author of Amish fiction, Wanda E. Brunstetter takes readers on a journey in 1850 along the California Trail.
Only the brave—or foolhardy—would attempt a cross-country journey late in the season. Three wagons meet up in Independence, Missouri, in April 1850, and their owners decide to keep forging ahead despite many setbacks and delays. December finds them in the Sierra Nevada Mountains when a sudden snowstorm traps them, obscuring the trail.
Cynthia Cooper is traveling with her mother and the man she has promised to marry. But as Christmas is upon them and they are hunkered down in a small cabin, she is forced to reevaluate her reasons for planning to marry fellow-traveler Walter Prentice. When a widowed father heading to a California ranch and a gold prospector both show an interest in Cynthia, she weighs her dreams for marriage alongside her responsibility to care for her mother. Can love win over her timid heart?
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The Christmas Prayer by Wanda E. Brunstetter takes us back to April 15, 1850. Cynthia Cooper along with her mother, Mabel are embarking on a journey to California via wagon train. They are going with Cynthia’s fiancé, Walter Prentice. They are late arriving in Independence, Missouri and the wagon train they were joining has already departed. Instead, they link up with two other families and begin their long journey to California. The other parties in the train are Cole Edwards along with his sister, Virginia as well as Jack Simpson, a widower traveling with his two young children, Alan and Amelia. Rain, mud and wagon repairs delay their journey. The group find themselves at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains when snow begins to fall. Thankfully, Cole finds an empty cabin where they stay while they wait for better weather. Eight weeks later they are still in the cabin and Christmas is approaching. The ladies try to figure out how to provide Christmas for the children with their meager supplies. The more time Cynthia spends in Walter’s company, the less she wishes to marry him. How else, though, can she provide for her mother since their father died leaving them penniless. Cynthia decides to pray on the matter and leave it with God. What choice will Cynthia make? Will this group of intrepid travelers make it to California?
The Christmas Prayer is a well-written novel with steady pacing and smooth transitions. The POV switches between a couple of the characters allowing readers different perspectives. The Christmas Prayer is a short story of 176 pages. I did feel it was a little predictable and the ending was rushed, but I appreciated the epilogue. The paperback version is just lovely with a beautiful cover that has metallic red border and pretty edging around each page. Wanda Brunstetter captured the spirit of a wagon train and the feelings the people were experiencing. It was a long, grueling journey where anything could happen. Illness, wagon repairs, sick animals, lack of food, Indians, wild animals, mud bogging down the wagons are just a few things that they would encounter. The people could not ride continually because it would wear out the oxen. The walking had to be exhausting. I like how the author included Cynthia’s journey entries. It allows readers a peek at her thoughts and what she was feeling. I liked the variety of characters with one of my favorites being Abe Jones. The Christian element is light, but the point is made. God is there for us. Prayer and steadfast faith will help you get through the tough times. We need to rely fully on Him, for with God, all things are possible. The ending is happy and heartwarming. The Christmas Prayer is a sweet, historical romance. My rating for The Christmas Prayer is 4 out of 5 stars.
This is a wonderful historical Christmas story.
The character list is very small in this book but they are each presented very well. Their personalities are extremely varied and as the story progresses we find that even the hardest to get along with can be the person that connects the most with someone.
The tale takes this small group through a very trying journey and they have to learn how to work together and trust in God. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing how a group of strangers can become close friends going through a very difficult trial together.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. I was not required to give a positive review. All of the opinions expressed are my own.
Disclaimer: *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*
The Christmas Prayer
The year of 1850,being destitute, with no funds to take care of her mother and herself. The only option was marriage, not for love, for security. Walter was wanting to make money and thought heading west was the answer, and opening a business. When on the trail, causing the wagon train to wait out a storm. Gave Cynthia, time to notice two other men were interested in her.
One was a widower with two small children and a gold prospector. With the age of fifteen years difference, I would of thought Walter would have shown interest in the mother first. Enjoyable story of life in 1850, not easy in those days, and with few choices for woman. Given ARC by Net Galley and Barbour for my voluntary review and my honest opinion.