A Light in the Wilderness  -     By: Jane Kirkpatrick
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A Light in the Wilderness

Revell / 2014 / Paperback

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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.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 336
Vendor: Revell
Publication Date: 2014
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0800722310
ISBN-13: 9780800722319
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

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. This multilayered 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.

Author Bio

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. Learn more at www.jkbooks.com.

Product Reviews

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  1. ConnieR
    ME
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Compelling!
    September 18, 2014
    ConnieR
    ME
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    I always look forward to Jane's books, and have been following her for years. I know that when I read one of her stories, I will be going on an adventure of some kind. I have come to respect and admire her attention to detail, her love for the history of a story and her extensive research. All that she does to flesh out the bones of a story make her books believable, historically accurate and emotionally compelling.

    Letitia Carson's story is one of courage. I love how Jane gives voice to Letitia's fears and failings as well as her strength of character and stamina. I cannot imagine being as brave as Letitia, and as embracing of hardship.

    Also central to the story is the injustice done to "minorities", and Letitia fell into that category in many ways, being black, a former slave, and a woman. Jane's strong respect for Native Americans is present here as well, and I rejoiced over the friendship between Letitia and Betsy.

    As always, I highly recommend this book and will be passing my copy on to all my friends. I look forward to Jane's next story, and I wonder where she will take me then.
  2. Carole Jarvis
    Jonesboro, Georgia
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Story of courage that need to be told
    September 15, 2014
    Carole Jarvis
    Jonesboro, Georgia
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Letitia's story needed to be told and Jane Kirkpatrick is the one to tell it. I've read enough of Jane's novels to know that readers can trust her to create an accurate story through meticulous research, and turn it into a compelling read through the eyes of fiction. Letitia's story is one of courage and determination in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, faith in God, and a most satisfying triumphant ending.

    "She had imagined the day she would escape; it would be high noon when people least expected them to run, when the dogs lay panting in the Kentucky sun and the patrols rested, not seeking a colored woman making her way to freedom."

    The first sentence captures the heart of Letitia. A Light in the Wilderness is the moving and poignant story of Letitia Carson, a little-known African-American pioneer - one of the first black women to cross the Oregon Trail in 1845, giving birth along the way. Characterization is strong and the setting is vividly conveyed, but I think the story's main strength is that Letitia is a character to which everyone can relate. It was easy to connect with what she was feeling, seeing, and experiencing - from her desire to be recognized as free to her need to be treated as a partner and a person of worth. I loved her thoughts about the wisdom of relocating: "She wasn't sure what drew people from their homelands to the unknown, what certainty they felt compelled to set aside for the imaginations of a future believed to be somehow in a 'better place.' There could be no better place than where one was . . ."

    Letitia was free, yet treated as a slave; married, but not in the eyes of the law. It's always hard to read about man's cruelty to certain races or classes of people, and that is vividly pictured in this novel. Every time I see the word "exclusion" from now on, it will bring Letitia's story to mind. And I can't help but wonder, have we really come all that far today?

    I enjoyed the Author's Note section at the end, and wanted to share Jane's words concerning the personal impact of A Light in the Wilderness: "I discovered the nature of freedom in the midst of chains and the strength of character it takes to persevere through the bondage of the spirit and the law. Safety is a state of mind, a matter of faith."

    I enjoyed A Light in the Wilderness and recommend it to all who enjoy well-crafted historical fiction.

    Thank you to Revell for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
  3. Rhonda Nash-hall
    Madison Heights VA
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    touching book
    September 15, 2014
    Rhonda Nash-hall
    Madison Heights VA
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    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.
  4. KavR
    Canada
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Compelling Story
    September 15, 2014
    KavR
    Canada
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    The kind of book that delves deep into your heart and urges you to make a difference.

    Heroine Letitia is based on a real person and that makes this book all the more stirring. I was riveted from the very first page. Enraged, incensed, furious, disgusted...emotions seethed as I devoured her story. Freedom on paper meant very little to a black woman in the 1840s. My blood pressure is rising just thinking about it.

    In fact, for all we like to romanticize the settling of the west, it was hardest on the women. They had very little choice but to follow their men. Submit and obey and don't complain. LOL. A 21st century woman would not have towed the line so complacently. Kirkpatrick gives a realistic, moving portrayal of what the westward trek was really like from a woman's perspective.

    Letitia's story humbled me. Her unwavering faith in the Lord, her ability to persist despite unspeakable odds in order to achieve her dreams...well, she puts me to shame. A compelling story that will linger with you long after you reach the end.

    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.
  5. Marianne
    Wanham, Alberta
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    My favorite Jane Kirkpatrick novel
    September 14, 2014
    Marianne
    Wanham, Alberta
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    5 stars ***** out of 5

    Historical Fiction

    This book is amazing. I would have to say that of all of Jane Kirkpatrick's books and stories I have read,this is my favorite novel by Jane. The subject was way out of my area ... Kentucky,Missouri, the hard trail in between there and Oregon, homesteaders. Fear of the unknown, making difficult decision and loss is universal. This story is told in a way theat made me feel like I was was right there in the room with Latitia as she faced her battles, raised her children, endured prejudice, and carried on. She was a strong, but gentle woman, well loved by her friends, always generous, in deed or thought. I marvelled how she saw her circumstances and when some took something from her she felt God was saying that they needed it more than she did.

    Jane put a lot of research into this novel, and I'm glad she added her author's note at the end.

    I received this book free from Revell and Emily Davies-Robinson through their Nuts About Books program in exchange for an honest review. A positive critique was not required. The opinions are my own
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