About the Book
Book: The Year the Stars Fell
Author: Elizabeth Wehman
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
Release Date: April 14, 2020
In the spring of 1833, newlywed Betsey Baker-Swain’s simple life changes when she and her husband, Aaron, make a hasty decision to join Betsey’s family on a move from Pennsylvania to Michigan Territory.
Along the way, rainstorms, freezing temperatures, seasickness, and lack of privacy pale in comparison to what the family will encounter once arriving at their destination. Soon, daily trials will include ear-piercing howls of wild wolves, bad weather, clouds of mosquitoes, and disturbing situations with the natives. Even then, Betsey wonders if this trip will finally quench her father’s adventurous spirit.
Over the next year, the Baker family will gain incredible strength, divine trust, and unexplainable courage, but will it be enough to keep them at the tiny cabin by the twisting Shiawassee River? Will uncertainty overtake their determination or will God’s intervention sustain them enough to become a part of the history of a new land?
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Wow! Yes that is exactly how I felt as I finished the last page. The story is so captivating that I read it in one day. I couldn’t put it down and shut the world out around me. The author took me to 1833 where a family has decided to travel to Michigan Territory. I loved how readers are swept away on the adventure as the family sets out to follow their dream. The time they spent on the steamboat was most unpleasant for them. I could feel the boat as it rocked back and forth. Once they were on dry land this is where the journey really begins.
I have read many historical books, but this one really made me feel I was in the story. Their trip through rough terrain was hard at times as rain would slow them down. The dangers of wild animals at night kept the men on high alert. There was also the danger of Native Americans close by. I appreciated how the author talked about how the Native Americans knew their land was being taken from them. She acknowledges that it was rightfully theirs and it was hard for them to see it taken by settlers.
The faith element in the story is strong and is the heartbeat of the family. I loved how they trusted God during their struggles and rejoiced in His blessings. The author does an amazing job of giving readers historical facts about the family this story is based on. The mosquitos were quite the pests and it sure did cause for some uncomfortable times for the family. Wolves were a threat to the family and I enjoyed reading about an encounter one family member has with them.
I did enjoy reading how Betsey and her husband joined her family to find a better life. Betsey and Aaron are a young married couple with a bright future ahead of them. They learn to let go of fear and trust God with all their needs. My favorite character has to be Betsey’s father. His unwavering faith holds the family together as they battle illness, danger and blessings. He never once was discouraged and always knew that God was protecting them. I loved reading the Notes from the Author included at the end of the book. There are nuggets of historical facts that enhance the story and give more insight into the family as a new settlement was established. It is definitely worth reading to get a feel for this family and their historical value to the land. I am excited to know that the author is planning to write the next book in this exciting series. I can’t wait to see where our journey will take us next.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion
About the Author
Elizabeth Wehman’s writing career spans over thirty years and encompasses curriculum, periodical, journalism, and novel writing.
Her dream has always been to write novels and Elizabeth launched her first contemporary fiction, Under the Windowsill, in 2014. Since then, she’s added four titles to her shelf. They include: Promise at Daybreak, Just a Train Ride, Mere Reflection, and her latest complete historical work, The Year the Stars Fell.
She found the historical genre to be filled with rabbit trail research as well as walks through bygone cemeteries. The pioneers, of the early nineteenth century, reflected an amazing stamina and a determined courage to venture into the unknown. The Year the Stars Fell is based on a forgotten village established in the Territory of Michigan in 1833. She fell in love with the Baker family and the information she discovered about them gave way to folklore and tales of the early homesteaders. Two future novels are planned that will include the continuation of the nineteenth century farming community. The series will be called, ‘The Newburg Chronicles’.
In her spare time, Elizabeth loves to read and enjoys being out in nature. Her favorite places are digging in her flower garden, listening to the birds as they herald a new day, or taking a walk on the country roads surrounding her home in Michigan.
Elizabeth has been a trucker’s wife for over thirty years which helps supply the needed solitude to produce extraordinary stories. She has three grown children, four grandpuppies, and two sons-in-law.
More from Elizabeth
My “Stars” book began to emerge after doing research about the county where I live, here in Michigan. On an information discovery about another book, I came across the story of the Baker family. They were highlighted as the one of the first farming families to enter Michigan Territory in 1833. Hosea Baker brought his entire family from Pennsylvania to settle on 600 acres in an area beside the Shiawassee River.
Joining him there were his wife, Sally, his grown son Ambrose, his daughter and her husband, Betsey and Aaron Swain, and some younger daughters. While there, they hooked up with a boy named Alexander Stevens. Their first year included: building a home and barn, clearing and planting the first crops in the county, setting up a household, and Betsey giving birth to the first recorded child in the county. Betsey and Aaron named their new baby, Julia.
So much intrigued me about their story. I was excited to flesh it out with the help of short excerpts written in a Shiawassee County history book from 1888. From these short tidbits about the family, I soon embellished a story which is a mere glimpse into what their story could have included during their first year as settlers in a vast wilderness.
Much of the story is from my own imagination, but many of the highlights include the excerpts written about the family in 1888. After writing their story, I now feel a specific kinship to them. This is my first complete historical fiction work. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.
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21st Century Keeper at Home, August 27
Connie’s History Classroom, August 28
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 29
Jeanette’s Thoughts, August 29
Locks, Hooks and Books, August 30
deb’s Book Review, August 30
For the Love of Literature, August 31
Older & Smarter?, September 1
Joanne Markey, September 1
Artistic Nobody, September 2 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)
Betti Mace, September 3
Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 4
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 5
Stephanie’s Life of Determination, September 5
Pause for Tales, September 6
To celebrate her tour, Elizabeth is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of The Year the Stars Fell and a $25 gift card to Baker Book House in Grand Rapids, which can be used online!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.