Second Volume in The Whitcomb Discoveries Series of Innovative Middle Grade to Young Adult Historical Adventure Novels Picks up Where First Volume, California Trail Discovered, Left Off

Educator/author Marie Sontag, PhD, and WordCrafts Press are celebrating the release of Yosemite Trail Discovered, the highly anticipated second volume in The Whitcomb Discoveries series of innovative middle-grade-to-young-adult American historical fiction novels. Dr. Sontag’s latest release follows on the heels of the series’ chart-topping first volume, California Trail Discovered, which debuted at Number 1 on the online retailer’s Hot New Releases in the Children’s Exploration Fiction category.

“I lived in California most of my life and visited Yosemite many times,” says author Marie Sontag, “but never heard the history behind it. Why is it called Yosemite? Who were the first whites to visit this beautiful valley, and what happened when they did?

Yosemite Trail Discovered answers these questions as our fictional hero Daniel Whitcomb, now 17 years old, lives and works with historical people during the California Gold Rush Era. He witnesses the clash of cultures that led to the Native Americans removal to reservations. He struggles with his guardian’s declaration that You can’t possess what you can’t protect. As he seeks to right wrongs, he discovers that, most of all, you can’t let what you possess, possess you.”

The Young Adult novel follows Sontag’s Middle Grade American historical novel California Trail Discovered, which was intentionally designed to capture the imaginations of younger readers then allow them to grow up along side the characters in the series as they naturally age in Yosemite Trail Discovered.

The tale begins in 1846, after a mysterious house fire kills 13-year-old Daniel Whitcomb’s parents. He and his younger stepsister, Hannah, must move West with their guardian. Orphaned, and desperate to find a way back home to Illinois to solve the mystery of his parents’ deaths, Daniel’s trail leads him on an unexpected path. The rigors of travel by wagon train take their toll as the pioneers ford streams, argue over their chosen route, and deal with sickness, a shortage of food, and death. Along the way, Daniel becomes friends with historical figures such as Virginia Reed, a teen survivor of the Donner Party, and Jim Savage, leader of the Mariposa Battalion, one of the first whites to discover Yosemite Valley.

Yosemite Trail Discovered picks up where California Trail Discovered ends and carries the story forward through some of the most turbulent events in the history of the young nation. Daniel must juggle a growing relationship with Virginia Reed while managing the account ledgers for his guardian, Jim Savage, at his trading posts in the California gold fields. The tenuous peace between white settlers and native Americans threatens to unravel, and Daniel finds himself serving in the Mariposa Battalion as they engage Ahwahneechee warriors in the Yosemite Valley. And there is still the question of whether Daniel will ever make it back to Illinois to solve the mystery of his parents’ deaths.

Although written for Young Adult readers, the novel offers a thrilling historical adventure for readers from middle grade and up.

About the Author

Marie Sontag enjoys transporting middle grade and young adult readers to various time periods and locations by creating stories that bring the past to life. Her 15 years of teaching middle school and high school have given her insight into what students find entertaining, and her B.A. in social science and M.A. and Ph.D. in education provide her with a solid background for writing historical fiction.

Born in Wisconsin, she spent most of her life in California, but now lives with her husband in Texas. When not writing, she enjoys romping with her grandkids, playing clarinet and saxophone in a community band, and nibbling red licorice or Tootsie Pops while devouring a good book.

Her previous works include the Middle Grade Ancient Elements series: The Bronze Dagger, The Alabaster Jar, and The Silver Coin, and her soon to be release Young Adult World War 2 historical fiction novel, Underground Scouts.

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