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Pilgrimage Hardcover – June 1, 1987

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 358 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan Pub Co; First Edition edition (June 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0026051400
  • ISBN-13: 978-0026051408
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #303,449 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Jessie and Emma Heath, orphaned sisters from Missouri who connect for a time with the Donner Party, are irrepressible survivors in this engaging account of this life along the Oregon Trail in 1846. Told mainly by Emma, the 12-year-old, tomboyish younger sister whose goal is to settle on a farm, the story centers on beautiful 17-year-old Jessie. Bent on Christianizing the Indians, Jessie girds her loins with missionary fortitude, bewildering the flock of men who would happily shackle her in matrimony. Fleeing their attentions with Emma disguised in boy's clothing as "brother Emmett," the sisters travel on, but their differing expectations are sorely challenged by the advent of a handsome, womanizing trapper, who captures the hearts of both. The feisty, God-fearing young women trek westward, suffering the hardships of hostile terrain, an attack by Cayuse Indians and perfidious behavior by would-be missionaries. An entertaining frontier saga emerges from their earthy, richly humorous experiences, narrated in the authentic voice of a good-natured tomboy.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

The personality of 12-year-old Emma Louise makes this book an unforgettable reading experience. She is feisty, intelligent, perceptive, outspoken, practical, compassionate, courageous, and resolute. Disguised as a boy, she accompanies her beautiful 17-year-old sister, who has received a call from God to be a missionary to the Indians in Oregon Territory. Both have absolute faith in the Bible (their interpretation thereof) which results in humorous situations as well as dangerous ones. The intrepid pair survive the hazards and horrors of the Oregon Trail in the winter of 1846 as part of the ill-fated Donner party and later as members of the doomed Whitman mission in Oregon. A fine achievement for a first novel. Sister Avila, Acad. of the Holy Angels, Minneapolis
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Ann is the mother of two daughters and one son, and the grandmother of four grandsons (including twin boys) and two granddaughters, both of whom are her namesakes. When her children were in college, she decided to complete her own education, enrolling in the University of North Carolina at Asheville where she earned a Bachelor's degree in Literature. Reluctant to return to an empty nest, she continued her education by enrolling in the English Department of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she earned both the Master's and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. Afterwards, she taught Literature and the Humanities at the University of North Carolina at Asheville.

Ann's writing career began in the early eighties when two mysteries were published as original paperbacks: THE MURDER CURE and THE MURDER STROKE. A few years later, her first hardcover book was published: THE PILGRIMAGE, an adventure story set in the nineteenth century. All three books are now out of print, but occasionally a used copy of THE PILGRIMAGE appears on Amazon.com for sale.

The publication of the first Miss Julia book, MISS JULIA SPEAKS HER MIND in 1999, set Ann on a full-time writing career. This book went through six reprintings in less than a year, and was ranked #9 on the Independent Booksellers' seventy-six most highly recommended books for 1999. In addition, the book was named to the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers list. The paperback edition of the same book was listed in The Best Books of the First Five Years by BookSense, as one of the titles independent booksellers most enjoyed handselling. The book was also published by Readers Digest Condensed Books, appearing in twelve foreign languages.

MISS JULIA TAKES OVER was one of seven nominees for the Book of the Year Award (2001) by the Southeastern Booksellers Association.

All of the books in the series are available on audiotape and in large-print editions, and are also available through The Literary Guild/Doubleday Book Club. All of the books, except the newest one each year, can be found in paperback editions.


All of the books in the series will be published in German, Japanese, and Croatian editions, as well as on audiotape (in English) and in large print editions.

Inspiration for the escapades of Ann's much-loved character, Miss Julia, comes in all manner of ways -- a chance remark by a friend or family member, an incident she happens to see, in a dream, or by being reminded of something in her past experiences. It is always deeply satisfying to her when scenes in the book she is working on suddenly seem to fit together to make a good story. She does not outline or make detailed plans before starting a story. She does, however, have a general plot in mind before beginning to write, but this usually entails only the conflict and the final resolution, with few ideas of how they will be worked out. So, with just the beginning and the end of a book decided on, Ann relies on the characters themselves to fill in the middle with first one subplot after another. This, she says, is the joy of writing -- when a character suddenly does or says something unexpectedly, leading her to funny and surprising 'mini-scenes' that seem to delight readers.

Ann was once asked by an interviewer how she knew when something she'd written was good. She replied, "I know it's good when I fall off my chair laughing." From that response, we can be sure that she enjoys writing about her characters as much as we enjoy reading about them.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By C. Hill on January 11, 2003
Format: Hardcover
In Missouri in 1846, Jessie and Emma Heath have recently lost their father and are now orphans. Jessie believes the Lord wants her to go out west to convert the Indians, so she and Emma pack up and leave home. After a run-in with two unsavory characters on the way to Independence, Jessie decides it's too dangerous for them to appear as two vulnerable women traveling alone, so Em dresses up as a boy and pretends to be Jessie's young brother, Emmett. From Independence, they head out on the Oregon Trail with the Donner family, and so the fun begins. The adventures that follow make for a great and hilarious story. Indian raids, unwanted marriage proposals, fake preachers, "divine" interventions, daring rescues, near starvation, the effort of keeping up Em's disguise, and a cast of wacky characters - including the mountain men Mego Cobb and Mr. Garrett - make this book hard to put down. Though it is now unfortunately out of print, it's worth the effort to track down a used copy online. You won't regret it.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Molly on February 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Too bad Pilgrimage is out of print. The idea of the journey west on the Oregon Trail will never seem the same to me as it did before I traveled it with young Emma. Her insight into both delightfully earthy and horribly vicious situations is perfectly wonderful. She might be a younger version of Miss Julia from the Ann B. Ross series, but with a less caustic and cynical wit. Character development is masterful. A strong voice from a strong author. Loved it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By gramemes on September 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Having driven Interstate Hwy 80 over the Donner Pass many times and knowing the story of that wagon train, reading this book brought an insight into the actual travel adventures of women especially those traveling as these two half sisters with their mission as the driving force to their destination. The scriptures included in the story bring many thought provoking moments as to the girls interpretations and the predicaments they encounter. I rate this book highly. Thank you for a wonderful read---however I have heard this book via audio.
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