Maggie’s Journey by Lena Nelson Dooley

Back Cover copy:

Maggie’s Journey grabs you on page one with characters and events that reflect real-life joys and heartaches that change the characters forever. Make room on your “keepers” shelf! —Loree Lough, best-selling author of 80 award-winning books, including From Ashes to Honor.

A girl who’s been lied to her whole life…

Near her eighteenth birthday, Margaret Lenora Caine finds a chest hidden in the attic containing proof that she was adopted. The daughter of wealthy merchants in Seattle, she feels betrayed both by her real parents and by the ones who raised her.

Maggie desires a place where she belongs. But her mother’s constant criticism and reminders that she doesn’t fit the mold of a young woman of their social standing have already created tension in their home. With the discovery of the family secret, all sense of her identity is lost.
When Maggie asks to visit her grandmother in Arkansas, her father agrees on the condition that she take her Aunt Georgia as a chaperone and his young partner, Charles Stanton, as protection on the journey. Will she discover who she really is and, more importantly, what truly matters most in life?
My review:

I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m not really a big historical reader, but I just finished Maggie’s Journey, the first book in the McKenna’s Daughters Series by Lena Nelson Dooley, and I think I’m changing my tune.  
Never having read a book by Lena Nelson Dooley, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Maggie’s Journey focuses on a woman’s search to find her identity after she discovers that her birth parents gave her away, and the serious emotional struggles between a mother and daughter.
From the first page, Ms. Dooley creates the stage with the setting. You could feel yourself suffering through the long journey on the Oregon Trail, enduring the train ride, or touring a magnificent clothing-design mansion. I enjoyed the historical tidbits offered throughout the book.
And the characters jumped right off the pages. I rooted for Maggie as she searched for answers and attempted to be the person she was meant to be, rather than the customary woman of society. Other times, I wanted to scold Florence, but the author molded her from the beginning in such a way that I understood her motivation.  
The real romance in this book wasn’t between the main characters, but rather with Joshua and Florence, Maggie’s parents. I admired Joshua, a man of honor and passion, who demonstrated unconditional love for his wife in the toughest of circumstances.  
I’ll look forward to Lena Nelson Dooley’s next book in the McKenna’s Daughters Series, Mary’s Blessing, coming in May. Congrats, Lena Nelson Dooley! Five stars for an impeccably written story!
Disclosure: I received this book from the author for a fair and honest review.
Author Bio: Award-winning author, Lena Nelson Dooley, has more than 675,000 books in print. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and president of the local chapter, DFW Ready Writers. She’s also a member of Christian Authors Network, CROWN Fiction Marketing, and Gateway Churchin Southlake, Texas.

Lena loves James, her children, grandchildren, and great grandson. She loves chocolate, cherries, chocolate-covered cherries, and spending time with friends. Travel is always on her horizon. Cruising, Galveston, the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, Mexico. One day it will be Hawaii and Australia, but probably not the same year. Helping other authors become published really floats her boat, with fifteen signing their first book contract after her mentoring. Three of her books have been awarded the Carol Award silver pins from American Christian Fiction Writers and she has received the ACFW Mentor of the Year award at their national conference. The high point of her day is receiving feedback from her readers, especially people whose lives have been changed by her books. And she loves chocolate, especially dark chocolate.

Her 2010 release was Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico, from Summerside Press which recently won the Will Rogers Medallion Award for excellence in publishing Western literature. Lena is currently under two 3-book contracts with Charisma House/Realms. The first book released in October 2011. It’s Maggie’s Journey, book one of her McKenna’s Daughters series. 
In addition to her writing, Lenais a frequent speaker at women’s groups, writers groups, and at both regional and national conferences. She has spoken in six states and internationally. 
Lenahas an active web presence on Shoutlife, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and with her internationally connected blog where she interviews other authors and promotes their books.

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