The year is 1865. The Civil War is just ending, President Abraham Lincoln has just been assassinated, and orphan Vanessa (Nessa) Clemens is just about to celebrate her 14th bithday. Meaning that she will be forced to leave the orphanage that has been her home for so many years, albeit, not the best home, and marry Reverend McDuff. Reverend McDuff is a kind enough man, but is so much older than Nessa, not to mention that he's extremely boring, and he has no desire for children, as Nessa does. So, as opposed to marrying Reverend McDuff, like she is supposed to, she plans to escape from Missouri, and head for Prairie River, Kansas, a fairly new town where Nessa is hoping to finally start over. Once there, Nessa is unsure of whether she made the right decision or not. She is broke, has nowhere to stay, has no friends or family, and is treated unkindly by many of the townspeople, as they don't trust a newcomer with no family. Nessa is now finding that she must rely on herself, her courage, and her faith, or she will never be able to survive in this new land.
Kristiana Gregory has done an amazing job with this new historical fiction series. Nessa is a spirited character, who is head-strong, brave, and kind to all, even those who are unkind to her. She gives the reader the strength and determination to achieve anything they set their mind too, whether a feat big or small. Her story is inspiring, and should be well-received by anyone who has enjoyed the LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and the MANDIE book series by Lois Gladys Leppard, as PRAIRIE RIVER features many Christian undertones. I look forward to reading A GRATEFUL HARVEST, which is the next installment in this wonderful new series. Don't miss this book, as it is sure to capture the hearts of all, young and old.