An Ordinary Woman

Written by Cecelia Holland
Review by Pat Maynard

This is the story of Nancy Kelsey, the first American woman in California, and an elemental part of that great state’s early history.

In 1841, Nancy, her husband, Ben, and their infant daughter leave their Missouri farm to follow their dream and settle in California. They take the shortest route through the Plains — the Rockies, the Great Western Desert and the Sierra Nevada range – which is also the most dangerous route due to the hostile climate and Indian threats. When they reach The Great Sandy River their party splits up. Nancy, Ben and their daughter remain with the pioneers determined to reach California, and the party doggedly continues traveling onward, overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

Holland is a master at assimilating her readers into the time period she’s writing about, and this book is no exception.