Review of ‘Pioneering’ by K’Anne Meinel
‘Pioneering’ is the next chapter in the continuing saga of Erin and Molly Herriot. While its predecessor, ‘Cavalcade‘, details the couples’ dangerous journey from Ohio to Oregon via a wagon train, this book paints a solid portrait of the day to day struggles of the Herriot family as they build their life on the land of their dreams, 640 acres of rolling green meadows, streams, lakes, and forested hills. If they can improve the acreage over the span of four years, they can file for ownership.
As we already know from Cavalcade, Erin has assumed the identity of a man so that she can lawfully wed her best friend, Molly. They’ve adopted a family of five orphaned children and together they all painstakingly build cabins, barns, and furniture from nothing but the earth’s raw materials. Even the clothes on their backs are patched together on sewing machines and looms. There is livestock to be tended and sod-heavy land to be cultivated. It’s such an incredibly grueling life that I wish there was more happening beyond the daily grind of plowing fields and chopping wood.
Disputes with neighbors, natural disasters, men with bad intentions, and government snafus are briefly mentioned but nothing really comes of it. Any of these issues could have created good trigger points and much-needed tension to break up the tedium of chores. Unfortunately, none of these storylines are expanded to full potential.
What I continued to find addictive about the Herriots is the love story between Molly and Erin. They steal passionate moments together and share a simple tenderness that warms the heart. A good addition to this lesbian historical fiction series. 4 stars.