Vickie McDonough. End of the Trail. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2012.
I would like to thank Moody Publishers for my review copy of this book. See here for Moody’s page about it.
This book is part of the Morgan Family Series, which is also called Texas Trails. End of the Trail
is actually the sixth, and the last, book of the Morgan Family Series.
Although I have not yet read any of the previous books, I did not feel
in the least bit lost when reading End of the Trail. As the web page for the series advertises, “Although a series, each book can be read on its own.”
The book is about Brooks Morgan, who leaves his home and family
because he does not want to do ranch work, plus he is tired of his
father’s perfectionism, nagging, and piety. After drifting for about a
decade, Brooks lands in the town of Shoofly and is hired to be the
caretaker of a man named Will, who is sick. Although bad at cards,
Brooks wins Will’s ranch in a card game, probably because Will let
Brooks win. Another character in the story is Keri, who is Will’s
niece, and whom Will raised. Keri is a headstrong woman: we first
encounter her in a scene in which she chases down a robber on her horse,
to the displeasure of her teacher, who did not find that particularly
ladylike! Keri is expecting to inherit her late Uncle Will’s ranch, and
she is surprised to see that Brooks is now the owner. Meanwhile, a
sinister banker is trying to court her, and some local big shot is
attempting to get possession of Brooks’ ranch, through any means
necessary. Will he succeed? Will a romance blossom between Brooks and
Keri? Will Brooks become reconciled with the family that he left? More
mysteries unfold as the book progresses!
I cannot say that the book is terribly original, at least not
always. How many Westerns are there in which a greedy rich guy is
trying to take possession of somebody else’s land, or a cowboy wins the
heart of a headstrong woman? Many, I would say.
I was slightly annoyed by some of the misspellings and grammatical
errors in the book, but, overall, I enjoyed the story, and any typos in
the book did not detract from its readability. I liked how Brooks came
to identify with his parents’ perspective after he owned his own ranch
and saw how much work it entailed. If I had a favorite passage in the
book, however, it was on page 159. Keri’s estranged mother, Grace, had
her brother Will take care of Keri because she did not want Keri to be
with her in her work environment, since Grace worked at a brothel.
Grace has now left the brothel and is seeking to be reunited with her
daughter. On page 159, we read:
“Grace was—-or had been—-the kind of woman [Brooks'] mother had
warned him to stay away from. And he had, though at times he’d been
sorely tempted to seek out a woman’s comfort, but those Scriptures she’d
read to him as he grew older—-verses about wayward women—-must have
found root in his soul. He couldn’t imagine what would drive a woman to
live as a prostitute. He’d heard there was good money in it, but the
price was too high. A shudder sent a cold chill through him to think
Keri could have endured what her mother did, if not for Grace’s selfless
This is actually a profound passage. Brooks’ mother Annie was a kind
Christian woman, yet she had her prejudices, some of which were
influenced by the Bible. I wish that the book went more deeply into
such issues as religious prejudice and coming to empathize with others,
as that would have made the book a lot deeper. The book still had a
moving story, though.