The Shimmering, a spellbinding story of the American West, connects four modern-day British kids with three pioneer children in a metaphysical, time-traveling tale.
It all begins with a researcher-writer, her dog Tess, and her eight-year old granddaughter whose curiosity is outsized only by her imagination. Erynn Hanlon devours Gran’s stories about real people that lived long ago. One family in particular catches her heart: the pioneer children Jake, Anna and Ben Lillie, who lost their parents in a river-crossing accident on the Oregon Trail. What happened to them after the accident, Erynn asks, but Gran can’t answer, for the diarist never mentioned them again.
Erynn seeks help from Echo, a Native American spirit, who guides her through the ‘shimmering’ and back to an 1845 wagon train. One by one, Erynn’s siblings slip through the shimmering, determined to find their sister and bring her home. But when they, too, see the plight of the Lillie children, they pledge to stay until they reach their destination.
The time-travelers soon realize they cannot be seen or heard by the pioneers. They must hover like spirits as the Lillie family walk beside the covered wagons for 2,400 miles. They trudge through Indian Territory with its wide prairies, scorching deserts, treacherous river crossings and rugged mountain ranges. They encounter huge herds of wild animals, haunted rocky outcrops, poisonous rattlesnakes, swarming insects, whitewater rapids and many other dangers. Friendships with Native Americans are forged and numerous lessons learned. The Lillie children’s grit and determination conquer enormous obstacles, but will they get to Oregon? Will they even survive?
Author Cynthia J Hurn – a masterful storyteller – weaves this fiction from extensive research into archive collections of early pioneers. Her characters transform into vivid, lovable people who stay in your heart long after the story ends. Without relying on gratuitous scenes of sex or violence, Hurn delivers edge-of-your-seat drama interspersed with a healthy dose of fair-play, humor and wisdom in panoramic scenes that make you feel as if you, too, have slipped through The Shimmering.