“For everything there is a season. A season for joy. A season for sorrow. A season for testing.” With these words written on the back cover of a real-event-based novel, readers can be fairly certain that it will not be a happy, carefree story, but rather one of hardship and overcoming. “Whither Thou Goest I Will Go” was written by Naomi Dathan and published by Kirkdale Press in 2016. As the author explains in a note to her readers, the novel is based on the infamous blizzard of January 12, 1888, that swept across the great plains with no warning. It’s name? The Children’s Blizzard. An estimated 1000 people spent that night lost on the open prairie. Many of them perished. Many were children.
At the beginning of the story, I honestly didn’t know what to think about almost every aspect. The writing was plain and sometimes inappropriate, I despised nearly every character, the setting felt shallow, and the storyline started slow! As time went on, however, the uncomplicated writing style felt more natural and fitting for the story. Growing and developing rapidly, the protagonist underwent an astounding transformation into a likable and truly heroic woman. Because the setting changed from a city to the plains of Nebraska, this element also seemed to come alive. Finally, the storyline that once seemed so slow picked up speed until it was impossible to put down the book! Without question, I am glad I continued on after a less-than-desirable beginning…
I grew up reading the “Little House on the Prairie” books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Later, I discovered “Let the Hurricane Roar” by Laura’s daughter, Rose Wilder Lane. Reading about the harsh life on the prairie always fascinated me, and created in my imagination an admiration for the pioneers who lived it. “Whither Thou Goest I Will Go” is written in much the same style as Wilder’s final book in her classic series, and Lane’s most famous novel. The simple, unembellished yet skillful writing style, the story of hardship and heartache, and the pioneering spirit of “Whither Thou Goest I Will Go” all very much echoes those timeless stories written many years ago. If you enjoy classic pioneering stories about a lifestyle so foreign to us today, and if you don’t mind a tragic and perhaps unforeseen twist at the end, don’t hesitate to give “Whither Thou Goest I Will Go” a try.
I received a copy of this book from Kirkdale Press, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.