Where the Lost Wander – Review


Amy Harmon does it again and I can’t even say I’m surprised. She’s a dynamic writer, with each book being better than the last. Where the Lost Wander may be my new favorite of hers. I’m certain this book will be at the top of my list of favorites for 2020. The word that comes to mind as I reflect on this book is: rich. The writing, the storytelling, the characters, the pacing, literally every facet of the book is exquisitely done.


In this epic and haunting love story set on the Oregon Trail, a family and their unlikely protector find their way through peril, uncertainty, and loss.

The Overland Trail, 1853: Naomi May never expected to be widowed at twenty. Eager to leave her grief behind, she sets off with her family for a life out West. On the trail, she forms an instant connection with John Lowry, a half-Pawnee man straddling two worlds and a stranger in both.

But life in a wagon train is fraught with hardship, fear, and death. Even as John and Naomi are drawn to each other, the trials of the journey and their disparate pasts work to keep them apart. John’s heritage gains them safe passage through hostile territory only to come between them as they seek to build a life together.

When a horrific tragedy strikes, decimating Naomi’s family and separating her from John, the promises they made are all they have left. Ripped apart, they can’t turn back, they can’t go on, and they can’t let go. Both will have to make terrible sacrifices to find each other, save each other, and eventually…make peace with who they are.

One of my favorite things about historical fiction is being sucked back in time as if I’m actually there myself. Unfortunately, many books within this genre do not possess the ability to transport me back. Sometimes the history gets too heavy, making the plot drag. Though I love pioneering stories, I thought this tale might have a tendency to drag as slowly as the oxen pulling the wagons. Boy, was I wrong in my assumption! Where the Lost Wander had no lulls — I was sucked in as I read the very first page and was torn between eagerly reading and slowly savoring this book. It was one I didn’t want to end and I knew I would have the most epic of book hangovers after finishing.

As always, after finishing Amy’s books I’m at a loss for words. I want to do the book the justice it deserves, but my language is inadequate. There are numerous life lessons, beautiful sentiments, and emotional moments within this story. It pulled deep feelings from me and had me in tears by the end of the book. Sometimes blogging and reading can feel like a chore, with the special books coming fewer and farther between, but this was exactly the type of novel to reignite my love of reading.

I especially loved that the story didn’t sugarcoat the brutality of this time in history and the hardship of being a pioneering family. Amy’s author’s note in the end made me further realize how often we try to reshape history to make us feel more comfortable in our modern lives. Whether we agree with the past, it’s not our duty to rewrite the story. We should accept it as is, and if anything, it should make us better today.

I eagerly recommend all of Amy’s books to anyone and everyone, but this one is at the top of the stack. Pick up a copy on April 28 – you won’t want to miss this evocative journey! It’s arguably Amy’s best work to date.

Rating: 5 stars

Purchase on Amazon.

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. Carol says:

    It’s a gritty read! I love the characters and sense of place!


  2. Sounds like you definitely found a winner. Glad you loved it.


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