Genre: FF Historical Romance, Explicit
Title: Backwards to Oregon
Release Date: 6 April 2013
“Luke” Hamilton has always been sure that she’d never marry. She accepted that she would spend her life alone when she chose to live her life disguised as a man.
After working in a brothel for three years, Nora Macauley has lost all illusions about love. She no longer hopes for a man who will sweep her off her feet and take her away to begin a new, respectable life.
But now they find themselves married and on the way to Oregon in a covered wagon, with two thousand miles ahead of them.
What I Liked:
After enjoying Shaken to the Core, I was intrigued enough by the summary of this book by the same author to immediately buy it, though I did not immediately read it. I put it off for over a week. Then I stumbled upon this on my kindle and…
Oh, I am so happy! This book is so much more than I ever imagined it could be. It takes some of my favorite tropes, puts them into an interesting setting with interesting characters, and goes on for over 400 pages. I’m pretty sure that I’m in love! I must admit that I haven’t read many FF romances, but I can definitely say that this is my favorite one, hands down.
I think part of the reason that I enjoyed this so much, is that the author was a fanfiction writer. I am a long time fanfiction reader, and sometimes, there is just a certain feel that fanfiction author have. It’s not a bad thing. Not at all! For all of the people who bash fanfiction, I must say, that there is some really beautiful writing out there in the fanfiction world. Not all of it is quality, but not all published work is either. I lean towards the epic, well paced, well plotted, well characterized fanfiction. I mean, I’ll read snippets and crack, too, but for the most part, I’m +50,000 words and a high rating or bust! And this book felt very much like the best of those epic fanfiction favorites of mine.
What I Didn’t:
As much as this is talked about and categorized as an FF romance, Luke almost seems more transgender than just a butch, transvestite lesbian. Luke has been living as a man since the age of twelve and lives in the world as a man. She uses female pronouns in her head, but she is very obviously uncomfortable with her female anatomy. Obviously, this story takes place in a time where the concept of transgender people wasn’t as understood as it is now, but I would definitely say that Luke Hamilton is at least genderqueer if not trans.
Content warnings for this book include prostitution, abusive husband, miscarriage/stillbirth, racism, sexism, harassment, and killing in self defense. This story is pretty intense. I promise that there is a HEA, but the Oregon trail was a long, hard journey filled with many dangers (haven’t you ever played the game?).
So, I feel like this book was written specifically for me. Women dressed as a man? Check. Marriage of Convenience? Check. A child AND an unplanned pregnancy? Double check. Seriously, it felt like Jae took all of my favorite tropes and wrote them into an amazing 465 page story. I absolutely loved everything about this book: the plot, the characters, the writing, the length. I could not put this book down! I finished this book in 1 day, and I finished the sequel the next day (review to come). I feel like I’ve been pretty vague about everything in this review, but I really can’t help it. I loved this book so much, I don’t have the words or the time to describe all the things that make it so great!
My Rating: 5/5