Full of literary gems: "A Light in the Wilderness" by Jane Kirkpatrick

Cover Art

about the book....

Three very different women. One dangerous journey. And a future that seems just out of reach.
Letitia holds nothing more dear than the papers that prove she is no longer a slave. They may not cause most 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 and 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. But 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 multilayered story from bestselling author Jane Kirkpatrick will grip your heart and mind as you travel on the dusty and dangerous Oregon Trail into the boundless American West. Based on a true story.

my review....

Jane Kirkpatrick's latest novel soars on the wings of her beautiful prose, showcasing her wonderful command of the English language. Not only was the story interesting to read (especially knowing it is based on a true story!), but it is simply a pleasure to be introduced to each carefully chosen word. Being a historical, character-driven novel, the book is obviously written at a slower pace than the suspense novels I normally gravitate to most often. However, I couldn't help but appreciate the way Kirkpatrick delves deep into the human nature through the characters of Letitia, Nancy and Betsy. My favourite character was Letitia, a woman who refuses to stay trapped in the horror of her past as a slave, but instead courageously takes steps to become the talented, strong woman God has made her to be. I admire her all the more knowing that she does not just exist in the fertile imagination of an author, though Kirkpatrick has done a wonderful job at fleshing out the person she may have been. But knowing that an African-American woman ventured forth into Oregon even with its "exclusion" laws that prohibited a black person from living there, is amazing indeed! Letitia shows a remarkable strength of character to take the path she did. The last few chapters were especially gripping as the heartbreak in the story intensified all the more, and I finished the story feeling triumphant on her behalf. Overall, I can say that all of the characters are absolutely compelling, and the story is full of literary gems and amazing truths that I will take away from the story to savour and ponder for a long-time to come.

Those readers who have enjoyed Kirkpatrick's prior books will surely appreciate her latest offering, and I am sure she will be gaining new fans as well! I give this book a solid rating of 4 out of 5 stars.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

 about the author....

Jane Kirkpatrick

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. Jane lives in Central Oregon with her husband, Jerry. Learn more at www.jkbooks.com.