The best books about the Oregon Trail

1 authors have picked their favorite books about the Oregon Trail and why they recommend each book.

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To Catch the Wind

By Charli West,

Book cover of To Catch the Wind

This book gives you all the feels, including aggression and anger toward the husband of the main character who is abusive and vile. Oh, I know that it is just fiction, but abusive swine like him exist and make me so angry. Despite that part, it is a beautiful story full of love and hope while facing the dangers of the Oregon Trail. I love the interactions between Ben and Lynn, even though he has to discover first that she is a girl, since she disguises herself as a man to escape her abusive husband. It is a good clean western romance with swoon-worthy moments and characters you either love or deeply hate. I loved reading it and I hope to dive into the author‘s other books soon.

Who am I?

Ever since I can remember I had a special love for western romance books. My mom has written several books set in 1800s America and that probably stirred me in that direction as well since I love her books (they're in German, which is why I couldn’t recommend them). Regency has become my second historical fiction genre, which is probably why I write and read both time periods. I'm a German-born US-Indie author and total romance fanatic. I write Christian Romance set mostly in the above time periods. I'm a massive Harry Potter fan, have been married to my husband for nearly 18 years and we have two teenage sons. 

I wrote...

Healing the Orphaned Heart

By Rebecca Lange,

Book cover of Healing the Orphaned Heart

What is my book about?

A move across the country... A dowry that turns into a curse... A marshal that captures her heart...

After her father’s death, Rose is sent to live with her uncle and his family, whom she hasn’t seen in over twelve years. Terrified of the reception she’ll receive, Rose makes the journey alone and quickly realizes that her late father’s wealth has made her a target for not just journalists but dowry hunters everywhere. Will her relatives in Colorado take her in with open arms, or was this arrangement forced on them, and would it turn into another disappointment? And, is Rose’s future already sealed by a parade of lies, or is there hope for a happy ending and the healing of her orphaned heart?


By Jane Claypool Miner,

Book cover of Roxanne

I have loved many a Sunfire historical Romance. Danielle (pirates!), Caroline (Gold Rush!), Amanda (Oregon Trail!), Nicole (Titanic—way before there was a movie). There’s always a kick-ass heroine and a love triangle and fun outfits (also a must for me—I was a fashion designer before becoming a writer and styling the wardrobe and “sets” is very important to me when crafting a story. I keep a Pinterest board for all my books and unlock it once a book/series is fully published). Anyway, I especially loved Roxanne because I’ve always loved Old Hollywood and old movies (much like Elisha in Keystone). I moved to Orange County, California from Pittsburgh when I was a kid, and on day trips to Los Angeles, I preferred seeing Hollywood through Roxanne’s eyes. It was her story that connected me to my new home. 

Who am I?

When I was a teen, I had zero aspirations to become a writer. I didn’t discover my passion for writing until I was thirty! But once I started writing, it was these books and the way they made me feel that I drew on. I wanted strong heroines that I wanted to be—and be friends with. I wanted a slow burn, skin-tingling romance with a lot of push and pull. I wanted to be part of something bigger than myself. To go on a quest. To feel victorious. And it is my hope that I can give my readers all the feels these books gave me.

I wrote...


By Katie Delahanty,

Book cover of Keystone

What is my book about?

When Ella Karman debuts on the Social Stock Exchange, she finds out life as a high-profile "Influencer" isn't what she expected. Everyone around her is consumed by their rankings, in creating the smoke and mirrors that make them the envy of the world. But then Ella’s best friend betrays her, her rankings tank, and she loses—everything.

Leaving her old life behind, she joins Keystone, a secret school for thieves, where students are being trained to steal everything analog and original because something—or someone—is changing history to suit their needs. Partnered with the annoyingly hot—and utterly impossible—Garrett Alexander, who has plenty of his own secrets, Ella is forced to return to the Influencer world, while unraveling a conspiracy that began decades ago. One wrong move and she could lose everything—again.

All Together in One Place, a Novel of Kinship, Courage, and Faith

By Jane Kirkpatrick,

Book cover of All Together in One Place, a Novel of Kinship, Courage, and Faith

All Together in One Place had me hooked just by reading the back cover. As I read about Mazy, her somewhat difficult marriage and the tragedy of loss, I found courage and hope. 

All Together in One Place traces the real-life story of a group of people traveling by wagon on the Oregon Trail in 1852. All the men in the caravan die and these women must decide to work with their differences and learn it is necessary to rely on each other in order to survive.

Reading Kirkpatrick’s book taught me about genuine faith and why asking for help is vital. The authentic dialogue and struggles the women have within the pages of history and this book gave me a perspective on life I did not have.

Who am I?

I am a Bible college graduate whose faith has always been a practical matter. Because I learned to find the “so what” of the Bible, when I became a teacher of the Bible in the public schools of Rowan County, North Carolina, my elective courses had waiting lists for students to get in to. As I now teach in Maine, I found I could continue to share a practical Christian faith through my writing. The books I have listed here do the very thing that I seek in my own writing.

I wrote...

The Bottle House

By Susan Grant,

Book cover of The Bottle House

What is my book about?

Stefan Krause, a personal injury lawyer, spirals downward in the wake of losing both his wife to cancer and a critical court case. Stacy Meadows, a behavioral healthcare nurse, discovers her husband in an affair with her best friend Aubree. The board members at the Christian school where Debbie Young teaches confront her about her negative attitude. They stipulate they will only offer her a continuing teacher contract if she agrees to Christian counseling and treatment.

Driven to Bethany R & L Behavioral Healthcare Center, these three wounded individuals seek healing. Can Chaplain Joseph Miller and his mysterious collection of bottles aid in their recovery and help them find what they need from the Great Physician?

The Oregon Trail

By Francis Parkman,

Book cover of The Oregon Trail

I began to read this book in childhood because it was in our house (sent as a present from an Aunt living in America) and it intrigued me by the title and the illustrations of buffalos, coyotes, bears, the landscape, rivers, canyons, and the covered wagons in a circle with people and their belongings, bedding down by campfires under the starry skies […] The episodes easily captured my attention. Parkman is documenting the first settlers crossing the Mid-West Plains towards the Rockies. This is really ‘a page turner’ and classic of travelogue adventure, even though I had never heard the genre term ‘travelogue’ on first reading. It also reads like a fantasy and provides the reader who has never been to the United States with a longing to go there. Books are parallel to life and in this case for me, I did reach the Origen Trail, walked some of…

Who am I?

This is very simple as to why there is passionate engagement with the themes listed within each of the five titles chosen. It's about engagement with the story which immediately comes from strongly identifying with the characters and events. The ‘identity factor’ is vital in drawing the reader in, and it's the mystery when writing a story or book which doesn’t begin with a prescribed plan. The mystery is really what creates the story and its characters, wanting to see what happens on the next page. With the reader, after having read a few pages, feeling the compulsion to read on, fully committed, emotionally involved, intrigued, and passionately caught up in the story.

I wrote...

A Horse Called El Dorado

By Kevin Kiely,

Book cover of A Horse Called El Dorado

What is my book about?

Pepe Carroll, the hero of A Horse Called El Dorado, has to leave his father during a military conflict and escape through the jungles of Colombia with his mother which is the first part of his story of survival. His adventures are continual survival. How he finds his grandparents in a far away country and good friends of his own age who identify his dream which will take him into “the world of horses.” How he survives. How he discovers what he must achieve and achieves it is his story. Told in a way that makes it real in every way. There is hardship, trouble, breakthrough and joy at least for Pepe, despite what he is witness to on his journeys.     

Christians on the Oregon Trail

By Jerry Rushford,

Book cover of Christians on the Oregon Trail: Churches of Christ and Christian Churches in Early Oregon, 1842-1882

You may not realize that the reason many came across the Oregon Trail was because of their religious and moral beliefs. Christians on the Oregon Trail highlights many well-known Oregon pioneers and details how their Christian beliefs inspired them both on the trail and once they arrived in Oregon. Some of those detailed are: Jason Lee, the Whitmans, Reuben Lewis, and many others. The book gives you also some of the theological underpinnings of the pioneers. 

Who am I?

I’ve always been a history lover. Since my 7th-grade teacher brought history to life I have been interested in a wide variety of topics and times. After living in Oregon for twenty-five years I found myself wanting to contribute to the cataloging of this great state’s history. The niche I discovered was to explore the world of work over Oregon’s history. Researching Oregon at Work: 1859-2009 I spent many hours across kitchen tables with the descendants of Oregon pioneers. They had boxes of ancient documents and photographs on their side, I came equipped with my laptop and scanner. Through this process, I researched thousands of documents, books, maps, diaries, photos, and more. I became an expert on the subject and my interest only grew.

I wrote...

Oregon at Work: 1859-2009

By Tom Fuller, Art Ayre,

Book cover of Oregon at Work: 1859-2009

What is my book about?

Travel through time as we trace the lives and occupations of twenty Oregon pioneers from state founding and into the 21st century. With many never-before-seen photographs and diaries of those who lived the life of true pioneers. We weave into the narrative many fun and interesting facts about life in three major periods of Oregon history. We also feature special sections on minority and indigenous people who form a vital part of Oregon history. “An immersive read” one reviewer said.

Where the Lost Wander

By Amy Harmon,

Book cover of Where the Lost Wander

This book follows a young widow traveling westward with her extended family and her journey to find love and purpose again. It takes a hard and honest look at the kind of challenges that people in that time period faced, but through hardships and staggering loss she finds hope and belonging in a beautiful and deadly landscape. 

Who am I?

Ever since I can remember, I've been captivated by the American West. Was it that cowboys were brave and if you had integrity it was most certainly put to the test? Was it that everyone rode horses and I was a horse crazy girl? Whatever it was that struck me, it stayed. I have treasured the West ever since, through books, film, art, and most recently, a fantasy western trilogy of my own. 

I wrote...

These War-Torn Hands

By Emily Hayse,

Book cover of These War-Torn Hands

What is my book about?

They say this land is bound, cursed since the beginning of the world. And it’ll be freed one day by a man with war-torn hands.”

Rosamund Lacey has crossed a continent to marry Archer Scott because she believes he is a man set apart—a man with a destiny. But Alexander Mortimer, Outlaw King of the western territory, believes in only one kind of destiny: winner takes all. Determined to reign supreme, Mortimer kidnaps the governor’s bride and wreaks havoc on the land around Glory Mesa. But when Archer refuses to choose between the woman he loves and the land he has sworn to protect, he is forced into a showdown that may cost more than his life.

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