Book Review: Wilderness Wife by Delores Topliff

Posted February 27, 2022 by meezcarrie in Christian, Delores Topliff, historical, romance / 5 Comments

WILDERNESS WIFE by Delores Topliff
GENRE: Inspirational Historical Romance
PUBLISHER: Scrivenings Press LLC
RELEASE DATE: February 15, 2022
PAGES: 330

How do you continue living when life collapses around you in a single day?

Marguerite Wadin MacKay believes her 17-year marriage to explorer Alex MacKay is strong—until his sudden fame destroys it. When he returns from a cross-Canada expedition, he announces their frontier marriage is void in Montréal where he plans to find a society wife—not one with native blood. Taking their son, MacKay sends Marguerite and their three daughters to a trading post where she lived as a child. Deeply shamed, she arrives in time to assist young Doctor John McLoughlin with a medical emergency.

Marguerite now lives only for her girls. When Fort William on Lake Superior opens a school, Marguerite moves there for her daughters’ sake and rekindles her friendship with Doctor McLoughlin. When he declares his love, she dissuades him from a match harmful to his career. She’s mixed blood and nine years older. But he will have no one else.

After abandonment, can a woman love again and fulfill a key role in North American History?


Before picking up Wilderness Wife – a new historical romance by Delores Topliff – I had never heard of Marguerite Wadin MacKay or Dr. John McLoughlin. Nor had I ever hear the term ‘wilderness wife’ or studied the conflict between the Hudson Bay and North West fur trading companies. At least not in a way that it stuck in my brain. Yet on the pages of this novel, thanks to Topliff’s love of history and education, I met these key historical personalities in the story of the Pacific Northwest and came away with a new appreciation for the women of that era particularly.

We all know that wilderness life wasn’t easy, but I think sometimes we forget just how arduous it really was. Particularly for women and for people of mixed heritage. In Marguerite’s case, she had to deal with both types of prejudice and the accompanying insecurities they left behind in her heart. As I read this sweet romance and got to know Marguerite, I came away so impressed by her strength, her resiliency, and her spirit. The author does a great job of conveying how ‘deserving’ Marguerite was of a pity party, of giving up, and of harboring bitterness – and of how seldom she did any of that. Yet, she remained an infinitely relatable character for any woman who has ever felt less than ‘enough’.

And then there’s John, whom I found equally fascinating as a historical figure. He is definitely a hero to be admired, a husband to be swooned over, and a man to respect. My heart broke for him in a particular season of the story, and I held my breath more than once. I’m kinda glad, in hindsight, that I didn’t know the outcome of the book’s events so I could experience it firsthand on these pages. I was moved to tears a couple of times and also found myself wanting to know even more about his and Marguerite’s life and their descendants.

Bottom Line: If you love discovering little-known historical figures on the pages of a novel and seeing their stories brought to life with romance and danger and faith, then you definitely need to check out Wilderness Wife by Delores Topliff! Your heart will be touched and your mind will be engaged, and you will quickly become enthralled with the history playing out in each chapter. Marguerite is a heroine with grit, strength, faith, and a heart full of love. But most importantly she is a sweet example of overcoming the negative voices from without and especially from within – the voices that say we are not worthy of love, that we are not worthy of respect – and replacing them with the voices of our Creator and those who love us most. John & Marguerite’s story is forever imprinted on my heart, and I am the better for it.

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I read via Kindle Unlimited. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 4 stars / enjoyed it!

KissingBook Level: 3+ / will forget to breathe on occasion

affiliate links used

Delores Topliff did years of college teaching, traveling, and writing before writing Christian novels. She continues teaching university online dividing her year between snow-bird homes on a farm in central Minnesota and balmier winter temperatures in Northeastern Mississippi where she loves the people and accents. She also loves the magnolia, pear, peach, and bougainvillea trees in her yard there. She brags about her two fine doctor sons and five delightful grandchildren.

website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Also featured here by Delores Topliff


What about you? What makes you want to read Wilderness Wife by Delores Topliff?

Tags: , , ,

5 responses to “Book Review: Wilderness Wife by Delores Topliff

  1. Suzanne Sellner

    I’m so looking forward to reading Delores Topliff’s Wilderness Wife. It will make a great story with many historical bits of information included–my favorite way to learn history.

  2. Thank you, Carrie, for doing a beautiful job seeing into the lives and accomplishments of two historical figures I truly respect. I’m glad I grew up in the shadow of Fort Vancouver (Washington) and was destined to want to learn (and write) Marguerite’s inspiring story.

Leave a Reply