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Reviewed by Peggy Jo Wipf for Readers' Favorite
Dorothy A. Bell’s historical romance The Widow’s Ferry will keep you riveted as it takes you back in American history. Anora Claire Sennet’s journey began in the year 1841 when her father, mother, aunt, uncle, and she travel across the Oregon Trail to the Willamette Valley. The plan was for her father to start his own ferry business, ensuring the pioneers make their way safely across the Calapooia River. Arriving at her destination finds only Anora and her Uncle Ruben still alive. Because of horrendous events in Anora’s life, her mind shuts down her memories, and she loses three years of her life. Through the help of a neighbor, she remembers. With these memories come periods of anxiety, depression, and mental collapse. She doubts she can ever be whole again, but not as much as the town that depends on her service.
Touching on abuse and violence, Dorothy A. Bell writes a compelling novel that illustrates brutality at its worse. The Widow’s Ferry pictures the hostility of one man while showing the care and love of a better man. It wasn’t easy to survive and thrive during the earlier years of our country. This novel demonstrates that the will to live is vital. A man or woman who loses the will to live because of trials does not endure long in the west. The author brings these characters to life as she describes the harsh country and the battles they face. I could not put this book down, fearing the danger and judgment Anora would face. This novel made me feel raw as danger engulfed Anora continually. I was spellbound by the emotions and trauma she faced and the compassion and insight Hank had for her situation. I loved reading this novel and will look for more from this author.