So19 reads: Ashley E. Sweeney's ANSWER CREEK
Reading Answer Creek, I could feel the pioneer experience in a way I never had before. (I would have been exponentially more attentive in American history classes had Sweeney taught them.) Sweeney does such a masterful job of evoking the journey, from the shifting challenges of the landscape the emigrants move through to the emotional complications of being dependent for survival on people who were strangers months or even just weeks before. The epic sweep, the vast scale, of the trek is vividly felt, but so are the smallest of details, from the inevitable bickering among fellow travelers to the difficulties of dealing with menstruation while walking thousands of miles. And though Sweeney does justice to the horror of those snowbound months, they are just one segment of the novel’s physical and emotional journey, one aspect of its broader perspective.
Answer Creek’s historical figures are thoughtfully and accurately represented—no small feat given their number. Ada and J.R.R. Riddle, another fictional character who is a member of one of the rescue parties—are wonderfully imagined. They’re both wounded beings, individuals who have suffered great and transformative loss. Yet neither has lost the capacity to change, to hope, or explore the possibilities of the future. If I were traveling through unknown terrain to an equally unknown destination, I would be grateful for the resourcefulness as well as the companionship of such remarkable souls.
Find out more about Ashley E. Sweeney and the book here.