MrsK's Seasoned Reader Picks

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Light in the Wilderness by Jane Kirkpatrick

ISBN: 9780800722319
Publisher's Synopsis: 
Season turns to season,
Suspicion turns to friendship,
and fear turns to courage...
Letitia holds nothing more dear than the papers that prove she is no longer a slave. They may not cause white folks to treat her like a human being, but at least they show she is free. She trusts in those words she cannot read--as she is beginning to trust in Davey Carson, an Irish immigrant cattleman who wants her to come west with him.

Nancy Hawkins is loathe to leave her settled life for the treacherous journey by wagon train, but she is so deeply in love with her husband that she knows she will follow him anywhere--even when the trek exacts a terrible cost.

Betsy is a Kalapuya Indian, the last remnant of a once proud tribe in the Willamette Valley in Oregon territory. She spends her time trying to impart the wisdom and ways of her people to her grandson. And she will soon have another person to care for.

As season turns to season, suspicion turns to friendship, and fear turns to courage, three spirited women will discover what it means to be truly free in a land that makes promises it cannot fulfill. This multi-layered story from bestselling author Jane Kirkpatrick will grip readers' hearts and minds as they travel with Letitia on the dusty and dangerous Oregon trail into the boundless American West. 

MrsK's Review:
All Kirkpatrick fans know that there is always, always a tender-hearted journey promised when ever you open the cover of one of her novels. You are inspired, you are encouraged, you are strengthened, and you will always need to share about the women in her books.

In 1842, "Letitia has imagined the day she would escape... and yet, here she was, her bare feet ready to leave Kentucky soil; and she was going as a free woman." Letitia would be heading to Oregon with Sarah and her family. She would help with the children and her one possession, a cow she had purchased, which would provide milk for the Bowman's children. Once on the trail, Letitia is faced with a personal decision that will lead to a separation from Sarah and a marriage to Davey Carson, an Irish man who promises to watch over and provide for her. Davey is a man who can tell a story that would keep your mind off of any trouble. They are married by a Jewish tinker with Bible verses about blessings being shaken down and pressed together. They break the Jewish wedding glass and they jump the broom as was family tradition for Letitia. Once Davey and Letitia begin their journey out west, well the only obstacle for Letitia is that Davey still hasn't written her contract that states if something happens to him, his property is left for her and any children they might have. Letitia not only has papers stating her freedom, she has always been "free in her thinking, free as a child of God." Letitia will discover that even though she never had anyone "help her being loved to healing," she would be the "Lord's provision" for those on this journey out west.

Nancy Hawkins is a quilter, a mother, and a wife who values the beautiful quilting frame that her husband made for her. Their trip to Oregon would have to wait until the newest baby comes. She is a woman who "notices small achievements to keep from feeling overwhelmed by the every day tasks of living." Faced with heart-ache on the journey, Nancy relies on Letitia's words of faith and friendship,
 "They is a time to weep and time to laugh; time to mourn and time to dance.' 
I trust that promise, livin' it. 
Things go better when weepin' and mournin' pass. 
I pray you is goin' laugh and dance again. 
I walk beside you 'til you do, Miss Nancy. 
You not grieve alone."

With a true and steady peace, Betsy is a woman whose inner strength is found in the wisdom of recognizing that her "Creator continued to provide for them despite so many of her people dying of the aching disease seasons." Her joy is in raising, Little Shoot. Betsy's daily life is in the west where she digs in the damp earth for camas bulbs, relies on her baskets of willow, cedar, and maple bark as essential hand-crafted totes, and teaches Little Shoot the ways of catching salmon. Betsy knows that, "One needed laughter. Like one needed fresh spring water close by. Both, every day, allowed the People to survive the disappointments along the way." Betsy's wisdom will help Letitia build a life in the wilderness of Oregon City. She will learn ways of farming, changing milk to butter and cheese. She will teach the children to pun jab (telling stories with pats and claps of hands) and help Letitia and Davey prepare the land for the seasons to come.

These women are women of faith, women who know how to be strong for each other, and women who will not let others take what is of the highest value:
"I's free to decide how this day gets remembered. I say I let light shine inside me, keep the dark memories out."

Whether it is Letitia's colloquialisms, "Just gatherin' up hen fruit," or scripture passages of strength and hope, or just the inner spirit of  women... you will find a determination that women of the west have known for generations. The settings are gloriously described, "The world opened up before her. Like strands of oatmeal-colored yarn furled along bright green prairie grass, the wagons spread out across the landscape, not in a single line but several."  And the story line of three lives interwoven into one journey is crafted by one of the best weavers of truth, God's promises, and lives unfolding.

You will recognize the light in the wilderness is forever casting a glow upon your journey,
  An enjoyable read!
Added to my library shelves and shared with the Booked to Dine book club.
 Meet the Author:
Describe the photo or the page it links to  Jane Kirkpatrick  is the New York Times and CBA bestselling author of more than twenty-five books, including A Sweetness to the Soul, which won the coveted Wrangler Award from the Western Heritage Center. Her works have been finalists for the Christy Award, Spur Award, Oregon Book Award, and Reader's Choice awards, and have won the WILLA Literary Award and Carol Award for Historical Fiction. Many of her titles have been Book of the Month and Literary Guild selections. You can also read her work in more than fifty publications, including Decision, Private Pilot, and Daily Guideposts. Jane lives in Central Oregon with her husband, Jerry.

"I received this ebook for free from Net Galley for this review."

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