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When Winter Comes

Narrated by: Susannah Jones
Length: 9 hrs and 57 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4.5 out of 5 stars (12 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In the voice of an unforgettable heroine, V. A. Shannon explores one of the most harrowing episodes in pioneer history - the ill-fated journey of the Donner Party - in a mesmerizing novel of resilience and survival.

Mrs. Jacob Klein has a husband, children, and a warm and comfortable home in California. No one - not even her family - knows how she came to be out West 13 years ago. Jacob, a kind and patient man, has promised not to ask. But if she were to tell her story, she would recount a tale of tragedy, mishaps, and unthinkable choices - yet also sacrifice, courage, and a powerful, unexpected love....

1846: On the outskirts of Cincinnati, wagons gather by the hundreds, readying to head west to California. Among the throng is a 15-year-old girl eager to escape her abusive family. With just a few stolen dollars to her name, she enlists as helpmate to a married couple with a young daughter. Their group stays optimistic in the face of the journey's hazards and delays. Then comes a decision that she is powerless to prevent: Instead of following the wagon train's established route, the Donner Party will take a shortcut over the Sierras, aiming to clear the mountains before the first snows descend.

In the years since that infamous winter, other survivors have sold their accounts for notoriety and money, lurid tales often filled with half-truths or blatant, gory lies. Now, Mrs. Klein must decide whether to keep those bitter memories secret, or risk destroying the life she has endured so much to build.

©2018 V. A. Shannon (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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Historical fiction

A compelling fictional account of the disasterous Donner Party, personalized by a first person narrative. Although it is a harrowing story, the gruesome details are kept to a minimum. The story did get a bit bogged down with the number of names of members of the party and the disputes, some petty, some serious, that arose. I felt that the ending was a bit abrupt, as I had become invested in the unnamed narrators struggle to move past that terrible winter. The narrator was excellent.

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Well written, but gruesome...

This was a good, well written historical novel. However I cannot say that I enjoyed it, as it was a gruesome and sad story. But, I knew that going in since it is about the Donner Party. Overall, I recommend this book, but with caution. Be prepared to hear gory details of the survival, and death of those in the Donner Party.