Journey to the Pacific: One Man’s Quest

Judith Perkins

Publisher: ReadersMagnet Pages: 346 Price: (paperback) $20.49 ISBN: 9798890913401 Reviewed: February, 2024 Author Website: Visit »

A 19th century Northwest landscape provides the backdrop for Judith A. Perkins’ character-driven novel in which a young man from Illinois aims to move West, hoping to one day see the ocean.

When Clara Seevers learns her husband has died of dysentery while with his regiment and her two sons have been killed in the Battle of Bull Run, she becomes catatonic and is hospitalized, resulting in her toddler George being placed in an orphanage. George loves to read, proves a quick learner and becomes obsessed with a desire to see the Pacific Ocean. At 15, he runs away and heads West. He works odd jobs, eventually apprenticing as a hotel chef. Soon marrying, he begins a family, and ultimately moves to Rawlings, Washington, where he purchases land, a hotel, and a small home.

Perkins shines in introducing a bevy of well-drawn characters that interact with this family and help turn Rawlings into a prosperous settlement that includes George’s popular hotel restaurant and a General Store. Additionally, a wealthy patron offers to help bring in a grist mill, and the town hires a schoolteacher for its children and designs a clinic to attract a physician.

The narrative is laced with the varying torrents of Mother Nature, social gatherings, courtships, marriages, births, unexpected deaths, and obstinate children that need parental guidance even into adulthood. Perkins’ showcase of welcoming neighbors smartly includes the Nez Perce and Palouse Indian tribes, who are friendly, accepted, and contribute livestock and hunters to aid local ranchers.

There’s too much telling, rather than showing, however, and some repetition and grammatical errors need attention. Also, while George never forgets his dream of seeing the ocean, the destination indicated in the book’s title seems a minor part of his life’s journey.

Despite such issues, those who enjoy an historical story and the rich family dynamics of characters intent on making a better life for themselves, should find this a largely satisfying read.

Also available as an ebook.

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