The Folk of the Fringe by Orson Scott Card
The Folk of the FringeThe American continents (and presumably the rest of the world) have been decimated by plagues, then missiles. Those who remain are trying to remain alive, salvaging what they can from their old life, trying to rebuild a new one. This is a group of short stories by Card about one group that rebuilt their lives.
In the first short story a small band of people are driven out of their home in North Carolina because of their beliefs. Many of their friends and families had been killed in a massacre, and they were the few who escaped being killed. So they started walking out to the wilderness, heading for their new home, a place where they know they will be welcomed.
Jamie Teague is a loner, a traveler returning to his mountain home. He sees the group and realizes that if they continue their current route, they will be killed by the renegades in the wilderness who prey on others. They also cannot return to the town where they started. He reluctantly finds himself helping them along this first step of their journey.
This book deals with a grim subject with hope. Each short story tells an ongoing story of the final settling place of that group and how this group of people turn the western desert into a growing, thriving area. Each story is well written. I wanted to follow these people. The last story has a twist that is not anticipated.