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Reviewed by Jane Finch for Readers' Favorite
Has God Forsaken Me? by Raymond Cook tells the story of Noah and Kimberley Harris and their six children who, in 1898, decide to sell their farm and most of their possessions and join a wagon train to Colorado. Here they hoped for a better life. The government had promised new settlers 160 acres of land, and so the family set off to a new land and a new life. Unfortunately, the journey was harder than any of them had imagined, and sickness and disease took their toll. Exhausted and desperate, when they finally arrive at their destination, fate again takes a hand and devastates the family in an unthinkable way, leaving Kimberley to wonder how she will provide a home for her remaining family.
The way the author, Raymond Cook, has approached this book is slightly different to the norm. It is packed with a wealth of information which makes the reader imagine they are on the journey, even down to the wagon master’s rules and advice. It paints a very clear picture of the trials and hardships the early settlers faced, and their determination and courage as they sought a better life for their families. This is not just the story of one family’s journey, but also recounts how everyone looked out for each other, and the importance of taking advice and following instructions. This is a story of the pioneering spirit, but also of deep loss and tragedy, told more as a travelogue rather than as a regular Western. It certainly has been well-researched by the author, who has crafted an unusual yet compelling read.