Thursday, January 08, 2009

A Clearing In the Wild

'Some say that love's enough to stave off suffering and loss, but I would disagree. Quietly, of course. Words of dissent aren't welcome in our colony, especially words from women. I should have learned these lessons-about dissent and love-early on before I turned eighteen. But teachings about spirit and kinship require repetition before becoming threads strong enough to weave into life's fabric, strong enough to overcome the weaker strains of human nature. It was a strenght I found I'd need one day to face what love could not stave off.'
First paragraph in A Clearing in the Wild by Jane Kirkpatrick

This is the story of Emma Wagner Geisy, a young wife in the mid 1800's who has been raised in a communal colony in Bethel, Missouri. Emma has married an older man, a pillar of the colony, against their leaders wishes. The leader chooses to send Emma's husband, Christian, off as the leader of the scouts to find a new God-chosen place to move their colony, away from worldly ways. Ever defiant Emma is sent along to Oregon territory as punishement for her outspoken ways. The scout troop settles in what is now Washington state, making way for the rest of the colony to arrive. Emma becomes her own person during this journey, learning to support her husband along the way.
Jane Kirkpatrick has taken real people and with the gift of a wonderful storyteller, brought them to life again in a way that their stories will not be forgotten. She is absolutely one of my all-time favorite authors and I will definately be running to the bookstore for the 2nd and 3rd novels in this Change and Cherish series.

This story takes place right across the Columbia River from our home. One of my favorite passages in the book is about our crazy coastal winters. Here Emma is trying to convince her husband to stay in the land they have chosen:

'"It isn't disloyal to follow your heart," I said. "Karl didn't go with Wilhelm to Portland because he believes there is something here worth staying for. Everything about it here, except the rainy winters, is an Eden. We'd appreciate the blooms and beauty less if we had nothing to contrast it with, and therein lies the joy of the rainy winter months, the dark heavy clouds that shadow our days and promise sunshine in due time. I never thought I'd say such a thing, but I mean it, Christian. I do."


Blogger Mary said...


This looks like a great book. I have never read anything by this author but will see if there is anything available.

Thanks so much for sharing.

8:05 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home