This story is about a wagon train of mail-order women and a teacher traveling from Fort Worth, Texas to Coopertown, California. Tucker Houston accepts a job of teacher in the California town and is accompanied by her best friend, a blind girl named Laura. They met each other years before in an orphanage.
Tucker has done a wonderful service to her friend by helping Laura to be successful in spite of her blindness. I was surprised to see how much Laura could do as soon as she became comfortable in any locale.
Although this is the mid-1800's, one of the women turns out to have been trained in Scotland as a physician. Because no one would accept her as a competent physician in the East, she did not admit her skills until disaster occurred on the wagon train.
This is quite an adventure the women face; there are several deaths, spousal abuse, Indians and other challenges along the way. It was great to see that the women formed a cohesive whole before they arrived in California.
Why didn't I rate it a 5 as so many others? I thought the miscommunication between the wagon master and Tucker lasted too long. Another problem I had -- something happens to Laura just before the end of the book; it just seemed too pat. I felt that she would have been a much more interesting character if that hadn't happened.
This book is very well-written and hard to put aside. I'm sure some won't agree with my 2 problems with the story, but that is why we read reviews of differing opinions. 4.5 stars