Thursday 9 November 2017

A Discovering Diamonds Review of: VAST HORIZONS by Terry Collins

Amazon UK £2.29 £6.26
Amazon US $3.04 $9.95

Family Drama /  Novella
1838 - 1853
Southern United States

Terry Collins has written a book that I think most people who have studied their own genealogy would have liked to have written: a novel where his ancestors are the main characters. It tells the story of the Kline Family and the momentous decision by patriarch John Lowry Kline to take his family west along the Oregon Trail.

It is a very short novel – about 134 pages – and this is acknowledged by the author, but I feel there was so much more that could have been included. Some years are simply skipped and we never really get to know the characters. At the start of the book, John is a Lieutenant in the Army, organising the removal of the Cherokee Indians to a reservation, apparently with little opposition – but before we know it he is getting married and seems to have left the army. I would have liked, too, to know more of the everyday trials and tribulations facing the settlers as they travelled west to a new life. Also, there were some loose ends left untied.

But having said that, the story is well told, the writing style is good and the novella is a fine example of a family memoir-type read - ideal for anyone thinking on the same lines. The cover is taken from a photograph by the author of one of the locations that the family would have passed through.

This novella might, because of its specific content, have more appeal for US readers with a similar family background history than to UK readers.

  ©Richard Tearle

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