The Descendant's Daughter
by Patricia Lee
Published by Winged Publications
Publication Date November 28, 2020
Genres: Clean Romance, Historical Fiction
Setting: Oregon, Iowa Contemporary, Gold Rush Era - US - 1848 - 1855
Main Character Ages: 18-24, 25-34
Written for: Adults
Halle Jayne Murphy can’t imagine change.
She loves her career. She shares an apartment with her best friend. She’s happy.
She has lived an idyllic life in San Francisco growing up as the only child of Maisie and Fred Murphy. A graduate in architecture of the Art Institute, Halle works for one of the city’s historic home tours, a job that suits her.
But one Sunday while she’s working her mother slips at church and falls, the head injury claiming her life. At the memorial service the pastor presents an envelope of documents that he says will rock Halle’s world. Now officially an orphan, everything Halle believed about herself will soon prove to be false. Will she accept the challenge?
Garrett James has studied the life and adventures of his great-great-grandfather Cornelius Joel Hills, tracing his westward migration from Cortland, New York to Oregon’s Willamette Valley in 1847. Garrett has searched for clues that will lead him to a lost bag of gold Cornelius buried but never reclaimed. Garrett believes the answers lie in the old family mansion no one seems to want. He decides to let himself into the house with a hammer and nails, only to discover the long lost owner has finally arrived.
Will this pixie of a girl allow him to look for answers or has he stumbled upon a greater treasure?
The Descendant’s Daughter is Patricia Lee’s first time-slip novel. She used a variety of techniques to tell the story of Halle’s ancestors. Not only did she share the events, thoughts, and hopes using narrative, she included letters, journal entries, and information known to their descendant’s in the present day. I enjoyed this method of sharing their history and felt it was well done.
Cornelius’s story was fascinating. From New York to Wisconsin in the wilds of the early 1800s and then forging his way to Oregon to claim a homestead. Wow! Though he took a position with a wagon train to cross the country, this was not the emphasis in the telling of his journey. His adventures and travails were quite interesting.
And then there was Sephronia. What a lovely young woman she was! Her heart for those in need (in this case, escaped slaves) led her to risk her very self to provide for their needs. And can you imagine waiting for four years for your intended to return to you despite not hearing from him often enough to convince you he is even alive?
I enjoyed the characters and the story. I did find that Halle seemed to change her mind quite a bit; at one moment confident, believing nothing could shake her resolution to stay in Oregon, and then problems would arise that caused her to flee back to San Francisco. Again.
There were also a few changes of heart that seemed to be almost instantaneous and a few things that didn’t quite make sense to me. They were not necessarily things that detracted from the story; however, just things that I thought could have been developed better.
Overall, this was another delightful story from an author I have come to know over the past few years. I am looking forward to the next installment in the Call of the Frontier series.