by Celia Hayes
Strider Nolan, December 2008
This is the first in a trilogy, the following books being The Sowing and The Harvesting. The official release date for all three is December 10th.
The Gathering begins in 1844 and takes the reader on an epic journey before ending in 1853.
Celia Hayes tells the tale of a family attracted to the promise of a new life in America and the joys and hardships of this journey which begins with sailing from Germany.
As well as her fictional characters Celia Hayes includes many real people and events that add credence to the historical content of this book.
Celia Hayes has a superb ability to describe the natural world that will have the reader sharing the wonder of discovery with the Steinmetz family. As well as the beauty of new found lands the reader will share the warmth of new love, the horror of a massacre, and the heartbreak of the death of loved ones – most of which are the result of disease.
For me the most memorable scenes took place on or in water. The well told sea passage; life on board the ship and the living conditions painting vivid pictures in my mind. And who could forget Magda’s terror as she fights to save the child on the raft.
And then there’s the well-told series of events, based on truth and real people, that lead to the peace treaty with the Penateka Comanche. In fact the Indians provide some of the most humorous situations in the story.
The Gathering, is a very easy to read story that easily draws you in and will have you eager to find out how the Steinmetz family stand up to the challenges that face them.
If you’re looking for a change from reading the type of westerns I usually review here then this could be worth considering as it sure has me interested in reading the following two books to find out what happens next.
I love these sort of books and to my mind they are very much westerns. Some people don't class this sort of thing as a western but I think that's limiting the appeal of the genre.
I think you'd like it very much, archavist - it has all the elements of a traditional western, and then some. (Indians, cattle drives, pioneering farmers, encounters with desparados, Texas Rangers, strong women and adventure by the bucket! And cows. Lots of cows...
Celia - Ill dig it out. I'm a sucker for lots of cows...lol
I liked the book a lot. Especially as the German families set sail to America. But there is one thing in the book which made me very upset,and that is, that Ulm is not in Bavaria. Ulm has always been in Wuerttemberg. In 1952 Wuerttemberg and Baden merged and it is now Baden-Wuerttemberg.
I wish there would be a correction for the future prints.
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