A Journey to Colorado by Raymond Cook is a western romance, set in 1891, the story of a couple and their daughter who decide to make a change for greener pastures. After much debate, Nolita gives in to her husband’s decision to leave Nauvoo. So they sell everything they can and together, with their ten-year-old daughter, set out on the journey along the Mormon Trail to Colorado. This is supposed to be a fresh start for them, with the promise of 160 acres of good land under the Homestead Act of 1862, but is this journey worth it?
First off, this narrative begins with a strong premise — a family deciding to leave behind the world they have known for years and setting out on a journey through unfamiliar terrain and towards an uncertain future. The reader is introduced to the conflict right from the very first page of the narrative. They want to see what happens next to this family, and they are interested at the conflict taking place within Nolita. She is doubtful, undecided, and afraid. The family dynamics come out neatly throughout the narrative and the author brilliantly integrates elements of adventure and romance into this story.
Another thing that arrested my attention throughout the narrative is the author’s deft handling of setting. There is no doubt that the book is well researched and historical elements, as well as the geography - including the harsh conditions of the journey to Marble, Colorado such as the difficult terrain, wildfires, dust storms, tornadoes, mountains, drought, and rattlesnakes - are woven into the story and they become part of the conflict. The reader keeps on wondering, as they turn from page to page, if the families on this journey can survive. Raymond Cook creates a strong character in Andrew McCloud, and it is interesting to follow him and a cast of other characters dealing with everyday challenges of a difficult journey. The prose is beautiful and highly descriptive and the plot is well written to keep readers interested. A Journey to Colorado is suspenseful, laced with realism, and the humanity of the characters comes out in an unmistakable manner. An enjoyable read, indeed!