Monday, September 15, 2014

Review of "A Light in the Wilderness"

Review of A Light in the Wilderness

by Jane Kirkpatrick


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. 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.

Based on a true story.

MY REVIEW:   It gives my heart a deep aching pain to know how women of color were treated in our country in its early years.  To think that Letitia (Tish) had no right to the land she and her "husband" owned is incredible.  She was not allowed to legally marry Davey Carson either.  The ceremony mattered to them but the law would not acknowledge it.   She worked so hard and endured a great deal as they traveled the Oregon Trail.   She helped her husband put up their cabin while caring for their newborn daughter.  She prayed the child would not be very dark-skinned.   Friends called her skin "pecan colored" and adored her.  Women also were almost forced to remarry as a matter of convenience when husbands died on the Oregon Trail.  Tish made friends with a Kalapuya Indian woman and Betsy also was treated with some mistrust.  I was simply amazed at the heartache of all those who chose to travel this journey to claim land in Oregon.   I don't blame them either as it was likely an important decision for the health and good of their families.   This book drew me in and touched my heart in an incredible way.   When I discovered it was based on a true story and read the factual account that Jane Kirkpatrick based her work of fiction on, I was amazed even further!   I rate this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers.   Lovers of historical fiction will particularly enjoy this book.  
I received a free pdf version of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion. 

About the Author:
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Jane is inter-nationally recognized for her lively presentations and well-researched stories that encourage and inspire.  Her works have appeared in more than 50 publications including  Decision, Private Pilot and Daily Guideposts.  Jane is the author of 20 books including 17 historical novels. Many of her titles are based on the lives of real people or incidents set authentically in the American West.  Her first novel, A Sweetness to the Soul, won the coveted Wrangler Award from the Western Heritage Center.  Her works have been finalists for the Christy, Spur, Oregon Book Award, WILLA Literary Award and Reader’s Choice awards.  Several of her titles have been Book of the Month and Literary Guild selections. 

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