An Unforeseen Journey

Mary Stewart Van Valkenburg
Classic Day Publishing (2016)
ISBN 9781598491883
Reviewed by Susan Violante for Reader Views (01/18)

“An Unforeseen Journey” by Mary Stewart Van Valkenburg takes readers through the pioneering journey of a family. Lewis and Inez Howell had moved to Seattle from the Midwest with their four children. Inez was settling into the Seattle life nicely. As their new home was being finished, she joined a literary club, and the children were in school; but unbeknownst to her, Lewis wasn’t adjusting so well. He had hoped for something different than the city-life again. He decides to take a trip to check out a piece of land for sale at Decatur Island, but he tells his wife he is doing so for a friend. Little did she know that this trip marked the beginning of their family’s ‘unforeseen journey’ to the tiny island located in the San Juan archipelago!

Although this book focuses on the Howell’s journey, it really is a compilation of pioneers’ stories of people who settled down on Decatur Island. These stories are enriched by pictures of people and places, as well as documents. The book design, formatting and the pictures take part of the reader’s experience, making the stories real and visual with each turning of the page.

Mary Stewart Van Valkenburg’s voice is as lovely and captivating as much as the story she is telling. Her writing skills are not only impeccable, but also gifted as she presents tons of information about different people and stories in a way that the reader receives it effortlessly in a pleasurable narration. I actually was hooked from start to finish, to the point of devouring the book in one sitting. The book with its pictures is beautiful, making it an awesome gift as a coffee table book/conversation starter/ historical jewel.

I loved “An Unforeseen Journey” by Mary Stewart Van Valkenburg! It is a captivating historical account of pioneers who settled at Decatur Island. But I found it to be much more than that. To me it is the perfect way to travel in space and time to a remote island in the North West, and live the journey of adventurers who embodied the pioneer spirit. Definitely a Five-Star classic to keep on your coffee table!

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