When a socialite from the nation’s capital embarks on a journey to the Wild West, her life is changed forever.
A setting populated by hundreds of laborers, outlaws, and Indians is hardly the place for a wealthy general’s daughter. But Josephine Cain is determined to visit her father, who supervises the day-to-day work involved in the grandest ambition of post-Civil War America: the building of the Transcontinental Railroad.
Life with the railroad is far from the proper life Josephine is used to, and she faces deadly gunfights, harsh weather, and vigilante uprisings. She is torn between the West and the East; between her privileged upbringing and the challenges of a new frontier; between the pull of the suitable beau her parents approve of and an attraction to a rough but charming Irish railroad worker. But if Josephine is willing, she just might find a new life, a unique purpose… and true love.
The Journey of Josephine Cain (Summerside Press) is a historical romance that entertains and informs at the same time.
One of the attractions of the American Tapestry series is its rich historical detail and glimpses into various time periods during America's formative years. This novel, which spotlights the building of the Transcontinental Railroad, is well researched and includes many actual people and events - such as the invention of the unique bunk cars, General Grenville Dodge, Thomas Durant, the lynching of "The Kid" and his outlaw gang in Laramie, etc. Nancy's writing flows easily and I enjoyed the supporting characters of Josephine's father, Aunt Bernice, cousin Frieda, and Nelly, an orphan rescued by Josephine.
The seemingly unlikely pair of Josephine and Hudson are at the heart of this story. Josephine isn't a particularly likeable character at the beginning, when she comes across as selfish, impatient, impulsive, and manipulative. Hudson is an Irish railroad worker, far beneath her in social standing. "He came from poor Irish stock who were lucky to have a few extra dollars left over at the end of the month, while Josephine was an Irish general's daughter who had never considered the cost of anything and felt comfortable dining with presidents. The only thing they had in common was their family's country of origin."
"The Journey" in the title takes on a double meaning in Josephine's life - for while she physically journeys out West to be with her father, her most important journey is toward one of maturity. Leaving behind her comfortable and pampered existence in Washington, DC, she discovers the Wild West with its rugged beauty, but unsavory aspects as well. The selfish trait begins to disappear as she gradually learns to focus on the needs of people around her, and those other seemingly negative traits become assets as she strives to accomplish her goals. It is fun to watch Josephine become a strong, caring, independent woman who discovers how and where God wants to use her.
The Journey of Josephine Cain is a light, fairly quick read that never failed to hold my attention. Nancy did a great job blending historical detail with a sweet romance. I recommend this story to all who enjoy historical romance.
Discussion questions are provided at the end.
Behind the Story with Nancy:
"I lived in Nebraska the first 36 years of my life and am a descendant of immigrant pioneers. That can-do spirit has always fascinated me. Watching the fabulous mini-series, “The Men Who Built America” on the History Channel sparked my fascination with vision. For all these men (Vanderbilt, Carnegie, Rockefeller, Edison) had a vision of what could be. The Transcontinental Railroad came about because of such vision.
"Before the railroad was built from Omaha to Sacramento, it took six months to cross the United States coast to coast. Afterwards, it took but a few days. The idea was stirring in the minds of men for decades before it came about. Abraham Lincoln was a strong supporter, even before he was president.
"Building finally commenced right after the end of the Civil War—which was perfect timing. Soldiers from both the Union and Confederate sides, ex-slaves, and an influx of immigrants from all over the world needed work. The railroad provided them that work, and they were forced to work side-by-side. I find it fascinating that men who were killing each other just months earlier were now co-workers linked by a common goal. The United States needed the Transcontinental Railroad project in order to heal and to give the nation something positive to focus on—as a united nation."
See Nancy's Pinterest story board and check out 1860s fashion.
Learn more about Nancy and her books at the Litfuse tour page and nancymoser.com.
This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity and Summerside Press in exchange for my honest review.