Crazy Woman Creek

Fiction - Western
274 Pages
Reviewed on 10/21/2023
Buy on Amazon

Author Biography

John Hansen grew up on a ranch in southern Idaho. After college he worked as a wildlife biologist and wildland firefighter mostly in New Mexico. Upon retiring in 2014 he turned to his passion for writing. To date he has written 14 novels in the western, historical and contemporary fiction genres. His writing has won numerous awards, most notably, four Will Rogers Medallions. John and his wife Debi live in western Montana with their rescue dog Bella, and cats, Max and Patches.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Doreen Chombu for Readers' Favorite

Samuel Quist sells everything he owns and leaves Independence, Missouri, for Oregon for a new beginning and greener pastures. With the tense political climate and war, the move seems like the best option for his family. He takes his wife, Elizabeth, children, Zeke and Mary, and seventeen-year-old brother, James, and they journey through treacherous lands with George Munson and other pilgrims in his care. Unfortunately, Samuel faces ostracization, betrayal, and ridicule from his fellow travelers. The bloodthirsty Native Americans on the pilgrims’ trail make them go through horrors that alter the course of their lives. The entire ordeal leaves Samuel wondering if the journey was worth it. Get a copy of Crazy Woman Creek by John Hansen and join Samuel, his family, and fellow travelers on their life-changing journey.

The 1860s were tough times, and this book perfectly captures the plight of an ordinary man trying to prove himself and protect his family. The story is intense because it makes you feel the characters' pain, grief, and fear. In the beginning, Samuel is an impulsive man trying to prove his worth, but later, he develops into a braver and more confident character. I loved his gradual character development. Elizabeth is also a formidable character who kept her faith and had hope even when the odds were never in her favor. John Hansen has written great characters and a memorable story with tense scenes that kept me glued to the story. The author perfectly captures the culture and lifestyle of the era and gives details that paint a vivid picture of the characters and the environment. Each chapter builds on the next and presents more predicaments for the main characters. I felt so many emotions when reading. I was angry, sad, and tearing up most of the time. I highly recommend Crazy Woman Creek because it is well-written with a fantastic plot. Brilliant writing.

Luwi Nyakansaila

Crazy Woman Creek by John Hansen is an emotional tale about a group of pilgrims traveling from Missouri to Oregon for a fresh start. The story is set in 1863, and it mainly follows Samuel Quist, a school teacher who travels with his family and joins a train of wagons led by George Munson. The group finds the grave of a white woman dug up by Indians, who stole her clothes and left her to the wolves. Munson enlists the men to gather her scattered bones and rebury her. Unfortunately, Samuel, having no experience with dead bodies, opts out of the task because it makes him feel uneasy. His decision shows him in a bad light to some of his fellow travelers. Samuel thinks ostracization is the biggest problem he will have to face throughout his journey, but he has no idea of the life-changing calamities awaiting him and his family.

Crazy Woman Creek is a heart-stirring tale that left me with so many emotions. Samuel’s story is one tragic event after another, and I was on the edge of my seat, hoping for a happy ending. The things he, his family, and fellow travelers went through brought tears to my eyes. John Hansen lets readers connect to the characters and makes them hear their thoughts and feel their pain. The story is intriguing and suspenseful because it is set in a time of political unrest and disputes. Knowing that enemies were everywhere and could come from any direction made me suspicious of any new characters, which made the tension palpable throughout the plot. You will not want to put the book down because you will want to know what happens next. The story has a good pace and a smooth flow. It is a must-read for anyone who loves historical novels that tackle hardships and tragedy.

Alex Ndirangu

On May 12, 1863, a convoy of wagons stretching over a mile long traversed the untamed American wilderness on a trail to Oregon. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Quist's only hope against the searing heat and fatigue as she reined mules across the rough terrain was that they would turn back—something her husband wouldn't give in to. With great conflict fast approaching Missouri, Samuel Quist was determined to take his wife and kids to safety. But several days into the long journey, tragedy started to brew as disease, finger-pointing accompanied by accusations, and deadly encounters with troublesome Native American braves out for blood-soaked revenge and attack threatened to destroy everyone on the trail. Would the Quists make it to Oregon? Grab a copy of Crazy Woman Creek by John Hansen to find out.

When I first picked up this book, I never imagined it would be this addictive. With well-fleshed-out characters at its core, Crazy Woman Creek is a relentless and action-packed journey that will keep you engaged with history and adventure layered against the majestic American wilderness backdrop. The text is skillfully crafted, incorporating fascinating world-building aspects and enriching the reader's imagination. You can visualize the dull, orange-illuminated tents pitched outside the wagon circle as darkness slowly seeps around the camp most realistically. The part where Elizabeth was forced to ride James' horse down a cliff gave me chills. I couldn't shake off the feeling that the horse would lose its footing, catapulting Lizzie and her little girl downhill toward the creek below. The tension builds up gradually, and as a tragic confrontation and ending prove imminent, you can't help but wish the Quists will survive through the final chapters. If you are a fan of historical fiction, gripping action, and exhilarating adventures, this thrilling western will be a new favorite.