About the Book:
Book: Crooked Paths Straight
Author: Elizabeth Wehman
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release date: June 2021
This is a continuing story of the Baker family who settles in the Michigan Territory in 1833. Establishing the new settlement requires stamina, endurance, compromises with the natives, and most of all a strong trust in God and His provisions. Each character in Crooked Paths Straight is confident that their individual paths will lead to happiness and security, yet when trials arise…they soon realize that God’s path is best. This is the second book in the Newburg Chronicle series.
Because I grew up in Michigan, my interest is piqued every time I see a book set in Michigan. That made Crooked Paths Straight sound very interesting, and especially after I read the first book in the series, The Year the Stars Fell. When I read the author’s note at the end of that book, I realized that these books are set within a 2-hour drive of the area I grew up in, and I’ve been through there! I enjoyed reading about the history of that area.
In this book, Hosea’s family have been in the Michigan territory for about nine months, and are settling in. Both Hosea and Sally and their family, and their daughter Betsey and her husband Aaron and their baby, have their own homes now. They are enjoying a peaceful family Christmas celebration when unexpected visitors arrive—and soon life is anything but peaceful. An unhappy woman set on having her own way and making everyone else as miserable as she is, the ever-present fear of the Indians and then sickness going through the Indian villages, and the constant influx of new settlers keeps life interesting for the Baker family. Betsey faces all the challenges and joys of being a wife and mother, and then new factors enter into her life that she didn’t expect. Her sister Caroline finds herself in demand and must choose her future in a way she didn’t expect. Through it all, Hosea’s faith keeps the family strong as he continually reminds them of what God has to say about each situation that comes up.
I wouldn’t consider Crooked Paths Straight one of my top ten books for the year, but I did enjoy it. I am glad that I bought The Year the Stars Fell and read it first, because there was a lot that would not have made sense if I hadn’t. I guess what I enjoyed most about the book was the glimpse into pioneer life in my home area. I enjoyed getting to “see” what my home area may have looked like nearly 200 years ago. I am guessing it was quite similar. One thing is definitely similar—there was a trading post only half a mile from my childhood home. The roof was gone, but the log walls were still there when I was young. The local trading post is an important part of the community’s life in Crooked Paths Straight. If you enjoy history being brought to life, you will quite possibly enjoy this book. I appreciated that romance, while present, was not the main focus of this book. Speaking of the romance, it seemed to me that Caroline was inconsistent. She was eagerly anticipating marriage to a young man, and then, about two chapters later, she was afraid of it, and acting like she had never thought of the possibility. Another incongruity that I noticed was the mention of envelopes, as if they had been bought. At this time in history (1834), all envelopes were handmade.
I received a review copy of this book from the author, and these are my honest thoughts about it. Links may be affiliate links, which will benefit Esther’s website if purchases are made through them.
About the Author:
This is Elizabeth’s sixth novel and her second complete historical which pulls out her love of research. Her books concentrate on Michigan history, especially in her county along the banks of the Shiawassee River. Elizabeth has lived in Michigan her whole life where she has raised three children and will soon welcome the birth of her first granddaughter. She loves capturing not only the early history of the state but the amazing aspects of living in the Great Lakes state.
More from Elizabeth:
After working as a newspaper reporter, I soon realized that the best part of writing articles was the research. When I began writing historical fiction, I realized it pulled in that element to the extreme. I then fell in love with history but especially the elements of searching through a cemetery for a specific character, finding significant paragraphs in a newspaper article about a particular family, and then sitting down to fictionalize the details I found. It was fun to mix history with fiction.
The Baker family, in the The Newburg Chronicles series, came to life in an era that doesn’t always get much attention in the historical fiction scene…the 1830s. This was the beginning of many small settlements in Michigan due to the opening of the Erie Canal. Settlers would travel the canal into Detroit by steamboat and then purchase oxen in the city to move inland. Often they’d only have a map with their property outlined and would then have to blaze a trail west and north to find that property to build a home and farm the land…often sight unseen.
The trips inland were grueling and filled with many unknowns including Indians, rough river crossings, swarms of mosquitoes, and howling wolves. What they’d discover was a vast wilderness with trees to gird, cut, and use to build their homes. They’d then need oxen to help prepare the soil to plant crops. Daily chores were exhausting for not only the men but also the women and children.
How did they survive? How did families work together to establish a farm? Did they get help or were they all alone? If you enjoy learning about the early settlers of a new territory, The Newburg Chronicle series is for you!
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Eva Millien says
Crooked Path’s Straight sounds like an excellent read and I am looking forward to enjoying it! Thanks for sharing it with me! Thanks, Lots of Helpers, for sharing your thoughts! Have a wonderful day!
Looks like an interesting book.
Thanks for the contest.
Beatrice LaRocca says
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this book, it sounds like a good read and I am looking forward to it
Debbie P says
This sounds like a great read and one that I am going to enjoy!
megan allen says
I will have to check this out! Thanks for sharing!