Book Reviews

Book Review: A Christmas Prayer by Wanda E. Brunstetter

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?

My Thoughts

Cynthia Cooper and her mother travel in a small wagon team from Illinois to California. Along with them are Cole and his sister Virginia (Ginny) at the lead, and Jack with his two small children Alan and Amelia at the back. As they travel on the trail, they have setbacks, food scarcity, and weather that prevents them from getting where they need to go.

Cynthia is engaged to Walter, whom she is not fond of. The entire trip we get to read her diary and learn her true feelings, her worries, and prayers. I found the banter and bickering between them to be comical at times and exhausting. Brunstetter did a wonderful job at constructing this dynamic.

I enjoyed the friendships and down-to-earth moments that happen with children on the road. I quite enjoyed Alan’s mischievous side. I also enjoyed that no matter what they faced as a group, they relied on God to get them through it. They prayed and kept hope even in the darkest and scariest moments.

This was my first time reading Brunstetter’s work and I’m definitely going to add her to my author tbr list. I really enjoyed her writing.

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