Tuesday, October 30, 2018

When Winter Comes by V.A. Shannon, Vivienne Shannon

Mrs. Jacob Klein has a husband, children, and a warm and comfortable home in California. No one—not even her family—knows how she came to be out West thirteen years ago. Jacob, a kind and patient man, has promised not to ask. But if she were to tell her story, she would recount a tale of tragedy, mishaps, and unthinkable choices—yet also sacrifice, courage, and a powerful, unexpected love . . .

1846: On the outskirts of Cincinnati, wagons gather by the hundreds, readying to head west to California. Among the throng is a fifteen-year-old girl eager to escape her abusive family. With just a few stolen dollars to her name, she enlists as helpmate to a married couple with a young daughter. Their group stays optimistic in the face of the journey’s hazards and delays. Then comes a decision that she is powerless to prevent: Instead of following the wagon train’s established route, the Donner Party will take a shortcut over the Sierras, aiming to clear the mountains before the first snows descend.

In the years since that infamous winter, other survivors have sold their accounts for notoriety and money, lurid tales often filled with half-truths or blatant, gory lies. Now, Mrs. Klein must decide whether to keep those bitter memories secret, or risk destroying the life she has endured so much to build.


About The Author

I’ve got one of those disjointed, rambling career paths that always look rather fun on a book’s flyleaf (but never make any money); lawyer, artist, teacher, house-cleaner, chocolatier, baker, property developer, pantomime producer. I also suffer from moving-house syndrome. I once calculated that I’d moved house more than forty times, in the UK and abroad including Greece, Belgium and the USA.

It finally struck me one day that maybe I’d be better off staying put in one place and writing about all these different lives instead of trying to experience them myself. And my writing career was born!

I write historical novels - the latest, 'When Winter Comes' will be published in November 2018, and is based on the true story of the Donner Party - members of a wagon train trapped by snow in the Sierra Nevada. I love the challenge of the research and finding an appropriate historical 'voice'.

I'm currently also working on a second historical novel set in London and Nazi-occupied Greece - another challenging write. But my guilty pleasure lies in writing romantic comedy. My first published rom-com is 'Prospero's Island', and I am in the throes of completing my second, 'Isabella', which I am hoping to get published by the end of the summer.


My Review

I have in the past read stories about the Donner party, and the horrific end to these people, but the author puts faces to theses travelers. All the while reading this it made me think of what we really take for granted.
At the very beginning we see that Mrs. Klein is in California, but we travel in her shoes, from the beginning of this book as a fifteen-year-old in Cincinnati Ohio and how she ends up on the wagon train, to her being married, a school teacher, a mom and wife.
Just like the old whispered game of telephone, how a story gets twisted, and how you know the actual facts, having been there, and how frustrating it must have been to see the truth twisted.
This book became a page-turner, and knowing part of the ending still kept me interested, and I was surely not disappointed.

I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Kensington Books, and was not required to give a positive review.

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