Linden Birchfield is organizing the 180th commemoration of the Trail of Tears in the Cherokee community of Cartridge Cove. That's where she runs into Walker Crowe. Walker is an ex-army sniper whose ancestors hid in the Snowbird Mountains to avoid deportation. Walker doesn't think any good will come out this commemorative festival but will only dredge up the past. Even though they seem to be like oil and water, they have an undeniable chemistry. Walker is strong in his faith but not really looking for love, until Linden. Linden's past has caused her to lose faith and give up what her heart desires. She and her Grandma find the diary of a woman who lived during that period and Linden is captivated by her story. As the festival draws closer so do Walker and Linden. Linden is finding solace in the Snowbird Mountains but the quiet community is disrupted when they find some don't want to festival to take place. Will Walker and Linden discover who they are before it’s too late?
I loved this story. It's really two stories in one. The author alternates between the modern day story and the diary, which is the historical account of the Trail of Tears. At first, I wasn't sure if I would like that but I found myself fascinated by both stories. I loved getting to know all the characters in both stories but especially Sarah Jane (in the diary). Wow. I was reminded throughout the story of the strength of the human spirit and the faithfulness of God in the darkest of times. There was so much emotion, especially in the last half of the book that I found myself grabbing for the tissues. Linden was a bit frustrating to me the way she kept wallowing in her past but I know any one of us could probably be that way about something. I loved Walker Crowe. He was one of those heroes that you just can't get enough of, you know, the swoon-worthy type! This is one of those stories that just keeps you turning pages because you have to know what happens. The only thing that would have made this story better for me was an epilogue. I loved the ending but just wished it would have been carried out a little further. The author's dedication lets you know that though the story is fiction the historical events are not. That really elevated this book to another level. You'll understand why it's called The Trail of Tears. Beyond the Cherokee Trail is a story that will stay with you long after you close the book. It's a keeper and one I would definitely recommend.
*This complimentary copy was provided by Abingdon Press through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
Some Favorite quotes:
She made a conscious effort to peel her eyes off Walker Crowe. And Failed. Because despite the red flannel shirt and cell phone affixed to the pocket of his blue jeans - all of which he filled out so well - there was something wild and untamed about him. Exciting and scary, all at the same instant.
"You are all he talked about when he picked me up for our rotation at the dinner - and believe me when I tell you Walker uses words like he has to pay for each one."
"...I discovered my faith had been misplaced." "What do you mean?" "My faith in these mountains. In myself. In everything that had no power in and of itself to cleanse and heal."
For more information about this book or other books by Lisa Carter, I encourage you to visit her website at http://www.lisacarterauthor.com/