This story sounded familiar, so after investigating I discovered that it released in 2014 in The Westward Christmas Brides Collection. I had read it previously but re-read it to refresh my memory.
In April 1850, three wagons head to California from Missouri. Cynthia is in one wagon with her mother and the man she has promised to marry. Only she doesn't love him. She only wants financial security for her mother and herself. Another wagon holds a brother and sister and another a widowed father with two small children. They face many obstacles on their long and slow journey. Loose wagon wheels, rain storms, boggy mud, deep rivers not to mention threatening snow. Their original plan was to reach California before Christmas but these setbacks stood in the way. As their food supplies were getting low and snow impeded their search for live game, even the Donner Party was mentioned. How will they ever survive and what will Cynthia do as she realizes more and more what a heel her future husband is?
This was a really sweet novella, full of action, friendship, love and danger. I feel like it could easily be turned into a full length novel as the ending seemed kind of rushed. Only the epilogue told of their reaching California and what happened a few months later. But overall I enjoyed reading it once again.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through CelebrateLit but was not required to write a review.