The Trail to Love (The Soul Mate Tree)


When Jack Billabard loses his wife in childbirth, he makes a vow there will never be another. He buries himself in work as a trail guide on the Oregon Trail, but he cannot outrun his grief and guilt over his wife’s death. When Sarah’s abusive, drunken husband gets himself killed, she doesn’t have many options. A widow with a small boy, her only hope is to become a mail-order bride. With as much gumption as she can muster, she and her son, Tommy, join the wagon train heading for Oregon City and marriage to a stranger. However, a widow, alone in the wilds, is likely to attract unsavory types. Enter Horace Manny, a rude, foul-smelling behemoth who wants Sarah even though she can’t stand him. Jack makes it his mission to keep Sarah and Tommy safe, but falling in love with her is out of the question. He made a vow and, by damned, he plans to keep it.

This western adventure has everything a reader wants and expects from the old west. Ms. Susedik does an admirable job of bringing to life the grit and dust of the trek through the plains, its tedium and its adventures.  Her main characters, especially Sarah, are well developed. Sarah is downright sassy at times, which makes her very likeable, and Horace makes a believably stinky and brutish villain.  In a few places, the plot plods like Sarah’s oxen, and the mystical tree seems unnecessary. While certain events strain plausibility, overall, “The Trail to Love” is an enjoyable, exciting tale that will satisfy fans of romantic westerns.

Marc Joseph