"Passing Strange" is the fictionalized story seen through the lens of an educated, older woman who experiences the devastating loss of her husband at the beginning of the Overland Trail in 1852. Determined to fulfill his plan to build a school in Oregon, she travels in an ox-driven covered wagon with a large coffin filled with books, unaware thousands of gold coins lay hidden in the flour bin. Knowing she cannot travel alone, she hires a weary, older scout to safely escort her on the two thousand mile trail. Along the trek she meets and travels with an erratic cast of characters: a pregnant, steamboat survivor; a mysterious preacher; an abused runaway girl; a malaria-ridden writer; an unhinged man; a photographer of the dead; and Native Americans. Enduring a trail of fast-paced adventures in a quicksand-filled river, blinding storms, arduous mountains, and brutal deserts, she secretly records her innermost thoughts in a Commonplace Book. As a granny healer, she treats many snake bites, camp fevers, childbirth, and deadly cholera. Unlike the heroic and noble pioneer stories with events written by men, this is a tale not of a woman's limitations, but of her strength of mind and resilience to succeed.
About the Author
Kathrin Rudland, an avid history buff, has personally witnessed changes in the limitations and statis of women in the last eighty years. Kathrin, a poet and journalist, resides in Elgin, Illinois. This is her second novel.