Bristow, Gwen. Jubilee Trail. I thoroughly enjoyed this re-read of one of my favorite books from my adolescence. In 1844, Garnet Cameron graduated from Miss Wayne's Select Academy for Young Ladies in Manhatten. Ready to tackle the world, Garnet finds the confines (and eligible young men) of New York society boring, but is too well-bred and polite to completely understand her own feelings.
Along comes a handsome young man from California who, after several years of crossing the continent as a prairie trader, finds New York society as restricted as Garnet does. As Oliver Hale regales Garnet with stories of California and the Oregon Trail, Garnet's longing for adventure increases, and she falls in love with the man who offers her experiences she could never have otherwise.
Before long the two are married and off for a brief honeymoon in New Orleans before embarking on the Oregon Trail from Independence, Missouri, crossing the prairies, mountains, and desert to California, a journey of 2000 miles. The first stretch, the Santa Fe Trail, was 900 miles and took nearly two months across the prairies. After that, more than half the journey, the Rockies, and the desert were still ahead.
There are some wonderful characters, lots of exciting adventures, great hardships. The historical aspects from this time period when the Texas, New Mexico, and California territories belonged to Mexico are fascinating, and the hardships endured by those who made this journey were so tremendous that my respect for those early pioneers is almost boundless.
The book is a bit old-fashioned, but still a great read.
(some diaries from early pioneers on the trail)
Fiction. Historical romance/adventure. 1950. 564 pages.