Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Memory Weaver

This newest fiction release from Jane Kirkpatrick is based on the life of missionaries Henry and Eliza Spalding.  They served the Nez Perce Indians in the Pacific Northwest.  More accurately, it is based on their oldest child Eliza's (named for her mother) life after the Whitman Massacre in 1847. The Whitmans were fellow missionaries at a mission farther west.   Eliza was witness to the massacre as a child and dealt with those memories much of her adult life.  She happened to be at the Whitman mission when it occurred.  She was taken hostage and as the only survivor who spoke the Nez Perce language, she was made to serve as interpreter between the indians and the missionaries.  The attacking tribe was Cayuse but spoke the Nez Perce language.
The memories Eliza has are not all accurate, only the way she remembers them and much of her life after that was influenced by those memories.  She grows into a strong independent young woman but struggles with her husband's desire to take his cattle to range in the area close to where the massacre happened.
From the back cover:
 "Haunted by memories and hounded by struggle, Eliza longs to know how her mother dealt with the trauma of their ordeal.  As she searches the pages of her mother's diary, Eliza is stunned to find that her own recollections tell only part of the story."

This is a well written novel with good dialogue and picturesque descriptions of the Pacific Northwest.  I appreciated the care taken to ensure the grammer and sentence structure were accurate.  It is told in the first person by Eliza with every few chapters being interspersed with pages from her mother's diary.  It took me a few chapters to understand that all the diary writings are from Eliza's mother, with the bulk of the story being Eliza's telling of her life.  Mother and daughter both named Eliza required a little more attention than I normally give. That's not a bad thing, though.
This is my first time to read a Jane Kirkpatrick novel.  I was impressed with the talent and skill that is evident in her writing.  It is difficult to write about history, making it a novel and still keeping the accuracy of the events, while fictionalizing some of the daily life and characteristics.  Mrs. Kirkpatrick does a good job with that.  I recommend The Memory Weaver  and give it five stars.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell for the purpose of an honest, unbiased review.  These words are my opinion.
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