HH Com 529

When her husband Frank decides to start a fresh life elsewhere, Abigail finds herself trekking from Connecticut to the Oregon Territory in 1848. To survive, Abigail must develop the physical strength and endurance to withstand the rigors of the trail west and the mental and emotional fortitude necessary to build a new life. Through fire, flood, accidents, and deaths, Abigail finds new friendships to sustain her and the courage necessary to succeed. But Frank questions her changing attitudes and new friends, especially the leader’s son. Will the hardships of the journey forge the two tighter, or tear them apart?

First of a trilogy, Trail of Hope closes with Abigail gazing out at her new homeland, believing herself a widow, sheltering a newborn entrusted to her care. Book Two opens with Frank appearing out of nowhere, convinced the toddler at the door is proof of her infidelity. Book Three continues the story of that child and the growth of Portland and surrounding areas. Each book is able to stand by itself. More than the story of Abigail, the series probes the reasons men and women traveled west to settle and develop new cities and territories. Why did they risk hardship, illness, even death, abandoning the settled lands in the east for the unknown, especially before the 1849 gold rush?

"Forge the two tighter" doesn't make sense.

I'm a great lover of tales from the Oregon Trail. All that cinematic crapola aside, I am in awe of people who walked (walked!!) two thousand miles over unknown territory to a place they'd never seen hoping for a better life. You need only read Womens Voices from the Oregon Trail or about Abigail Scott Duniway to know this was an undertaking of terrible risk and sacrifice.

That said, you've got to give me something more than what I already know: a fresh perspective on this very very well known subject. Focus on Abigail. Why would her husband question her changing attitude? Don't make him some sort of bigoted misoyginist; women were worth their weight in gold on the Trail and men knew it.


Anonymous said...

I like the Oregon Trail as a subject too.

I'm confused about whether Frank is there or not. First he decides to start a better life "elsewhere", so I assume the heroine is without him. Then he gets jealous of her new friendships, so I revise my thinking, and figure the "elsewhere" must have been out west where they would go together. THEN, she thinks she's a widow. And I gave up.

Cab Sav said...

When you said "Frank decides to start a better life elsewhere" I assumed that Frank had left her, not that they're both about to emigrate.

The pitch feels modern (modern heroine, modern situations), even though I know it's not. I'd like to see you imbue a sense of the period into it.

cm allison said...

Thank you Miss Snark, anon and Cab. In trying not to be too wordy (something I got nailed on before) I guess I pruned too much. Yes, they leave together, but the main reason they depart their home is because of Frank and his addiction. Drinking caused him to lose his business, and often makes him irrational. Loving one minute, jealous and angry the next. Abby has to cope with this, try to get him to quit, AND succeed in getting to Oregon. (Turning back or ending the trip at one of the forts along the way is not a personally viable option.) She ends the trail not sure if she is a widow since Frank chose to try the rapids rather than take to Barlow Road. Abby walks the road with the rest of the company. Somehow I have to get all this into my query, likely drop the triology section, as unless book one sells, no one will see two or three. (Change forge too, guess my "country" was coming out.)

I've learned much from all this, and hopefully am not as clueless as before!

Anonymous said...

I am with Miss Snark a bit of research would do your story some good. Overall, I am one of those readers who enjoy reading a story with a bit of history.

I suggest you explore the woman’s role on the trail and let’s not forget the children, they also played major roles in this timeline. I would also explore what would happen if the family were separated. I am sure you could think of something once you do your research. Stuff like that and so on; I think you get the jest of my suggestions.

I wish you the best, Author and Good Luck!