Imagine being in a wagon train headed west on the Oregon Trail in the mid-1800s. Then, imagine yourself in Grace Martindale's position. She's a "healer" recently widowed and has responsibility for her two younger sisters. Grace married her minister husband because he had to have a wife in order to go west to Oregon territory to evangelize the natives.
The reverend dies en route, and Grace intends to go on to Oregon City, where her uncle lives. However, since the uncle is away on business, she decides to leave the wagon train at the Whitman Mission, where Dr. Marcus Whitman and his wife welcome travelers needing respite from the journey and shelter for the winter. They also minister to the local tribes, the Nez Perce and the Cayuse.
While Grace and her sisters are wintering at the mission, a measles outbreak creates havoc among the mission residents as well as the neighboring communities. Many people die from the disease¸ despite the best efforts of Dr. Whitman and Grace.
Misunderstandings about the extent of Dr. Whitman's healing efforts in the Cayuse community leads to the Whitman Massacre, where a number of the mission residents are killed. Dr. Whitman and his wife are among the dead. Others are held hostage for weeks. Grace is absent when the massacre happens. She had gone with Alex Armistead, a local trapper, to help sick people in another location. Her sisters, Hope and Mercy, ae hostages and are traumatized by the experience.
This is the first in the Heart of the Frontier series by multi-published author, Tracie Peterson. If you enjoy historical fiction, you'll like this book. There is a romance simmering between Grace and Alex, but it is not the primary focus of the story. Alex's best friend is a Nez Perce trapper who helps us understand the point of view of the Native Americans in the story. Grace is conflicted between her responsibility for her sisters and her budding love for Alex. The uncle from Oregon City takes the women in when he comes back from his business trip. I encourage you to read the book and get to know Grace and her sisters. I'm looking forward to the future books in the series, which will be about the sisters, Hope and Mercy.
Photo source: http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/treasured-grace/354650